Walgreens announces plans to open Take Care clinics in Boston area

6/12/2008

BOSTON Take Care Health Systems, which is owned by Walgreens, has confirmed that it plans to enter the Boston-metro area this fall, yet another sign that competition within the convenient care clinics landscape is heating up.

Take Care spokeswoman Lauren Tierney said that the company plans to launch multiple clinics in the Boston-metro area through a phased approach beginning in the fall. However, she was unable to confirm a specific number of clinics or exact locations as “plans are fluid and can change as we get closer to the launch.”

A local news report stated that Take Care is seeking state approval to open 16 clinics in the state.

Drug Store News reported in April that Take Care planned to enter Massachusetts but, at that time, Tierney was unable to discuss the timing.

“Take Care Health Systems is looking forward to launching Take Care Health Clinics in the Boston-area this fall. We’ll open multiple clinics, located at Walgreens drug stores,” the company said in a recently issued statement. “Access to care is a paramount issue in the United States, and Massachusetts is no different. Take Care Health Clinics offer access to high-quality, convenient and affordable healthcare. We’re excited to bring our model of patient-first care to the people of Massachusetts.”

The planned openings are important because earlier this year the convenient care industry celebrated a victory in Massachusetts as state health officials approved regulations allowing for limited service medical clinics—a move sparked by CVS’ application to open a MinuteClinic in in one of its stores in Weymouth, Mass.

In January, state health officials approved regulations allowing for limited service medical clinics, marking the end of a long review process that included two public hearings and the submission of hundreds of pages of testimony regarding the regulations.

According to the state Public Health Council, early in the application review process it became clear that Department of Public Health regulations governing medical clinics did not address the operation of medical clinics with limited scope of services. Rather than consider applications requiring numerous waivers from full-service clinic regulations, the department decided to create a specialized set of rules.

CVS has stated that it plans to operate about 120 MinuteClinics across the state over the next few years.

Meanwhile, CVS’ MinuteClinic currently operates about 26 in-store clinics within the state of Illinois—the turf of Walgreens’ headquarters office.

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