RCEC grows alongside thriving retail clinic model

9/14/2009

ORLANDO, Fla. Retail Clinician (a Drug Store News Group publication) and the Convenient Care Association.—Roughly 500 nurse practitioners and physician assistants were Disney-bound last month as they filed in for more than two days of presentations and education at the second annual Retail Clinician Education Congress, jointly presented by

It’s testimony not only to the fervent attention this growing group of retail-based healthcare practitioners pays to its still-growing-by-the-day profession, but also to the greater prominence retail clinicians are demanding among their peers, especially in a nation struggling to redefine the healthcare delivery system and rein in escalating costs.

“More and more…this country is talking about health reform,” Rob Eder, editor-in-chief of The Drug Store News Group, told attendees as part of his opening remarks. “A lot of people may be talking about health reform, [but] retail clinicians are health reform.”

Noted Tine Hansen-Turton, executive director of CCA, “As you know, 70% of Americans report [they] can’t get same-day appointments with [their] primary care providers.” So where do they go? To a burgeoning channel designed to mold the concepts around consumer care and patient care into one convenient setting: the retail clinic. But retail clinics are capturing more than just the patients in search of a more-convenient-than-their-doctor care model, Hansen-Turton suggested. “About 35% of people who come to the [retail] clinics right now report they don’t have a primary care provider,” she said, which spells an opportunity for nurse practitioners to help guide their patients into appropriate medical homes—something that nurse practitioners and physician assistants practicing in retail clinics are doing already. “What retail clinics and this movement have done is put a face to nurses and put a face on nurse’s practice and care,” Hansen-Turton added.

During the first evening of the event, Retail Clinician and CCA presented the annual Clinician Awards for Retail Excellence, or CARE, to seven practitioners in recognition of their achievements in the field. “We had called these awards ‘Unsung Heroes,’” Hansen-Turton said. “I’m not so sure you’re ‘unsung’ anymore—[but] you’re all definitely heroes.”

John Kenlon, VP and group publisher of The Drug Store News Group, said, “with all of the confusion and concern about how to fix our healthcare system, it’s refreshing and inspiring to hear about and recognize a few of the many retail clinicians who are bringing innovation to health care and literally saving lives.”

Mona Counts, president of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, was honored with the Loretta Ford Award. Formerly known as the “Lifetime Achievement” award, it was renamed in honor of last year’s first-ever recipient, Loretta Ford.

Other honorees at the event included Sharon Kulzick of Aurora Quick-Care; Marilyn Brown of MinuteClinic; and Albertina De La Osa, Diana Adams, Linda Ritchie and Suzanne Oliver, all of Take Care Health Systems. As well, Hansen-Turton was recognized with a CARE Leadership plaque for her legislative efforts on behalf of nurse practitioners.

The education lineup at RCEC was extensive—almost 20 presentations were delivered Aug. 3 to 5, covering a broad range of topics and encompassing some 14 CE/CME credit hours in all. Topics included homeopathy, dietary supplements and the pending cough-cold-flu season that is expected to help drive flu vaccinations and foster questions around the novel H1N1 flu pandemic.

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