Have you imagined a day when you could snag a pair of gym socks, pick up some body wash and floss, and get your kids their annual check-up—all in one trip? Well, we have some news for the taskmasters among you. That experience may now be available at a Southern California Target store in your neighborhood. Kaiser Permanente opened three clinics at Target locations in Fontana, San Diego, and Vista, with another opening in West Fullerton.
Not a Kaiser member? No problem. In a break from its members-only model, these Kaiser clinics will be open to all. Kaiser says that it will negotiate payment rates with other commercial insurers, and accept both Medicare and Medi-Cal.
While you may be excited about the prospect of simultaneously tackling some desperately needed housewares shopping with your annual flu shot, it might be a good idea to make sure that the services you need are available at the clinic in your local store. Still, Kaiser will offer a broader range of services than many retail clinics out there right now. The clinics will have nurse practitioners offering pediatric primary care, obstetric and gynecological services, chronic illness management, and e-consultation with remote specialists.
This clinic model in a retail setting could offer new, convenient, and valuable access to primary care for many individuals. Kaiser’s electronic capabilities—which allow nurse practitioners and patients to interact with, and transfer data to specialists in a different zip code—make this model more efficient, comprehensive, and robust than most retail clinics. It remains to be seen whether or not other providers and insurers will try to replicate this approach. In any case, this clinic model could be a part of the solution to the provider shortage that many experts anticipate with an aging population and the expansion of health coverage in the U.S.
In fact, one of these clinics may be coming to a Target near you. Kaiser has indicated that it plans to open more clinics in the areas of the country that it currently serves.