Get free help preparing your taxes from AARP Foundation Tax-Aide. Find a location

AARP Bulletin

Changing Health Care Options at Your Drugstore

Retail clinics expand doc-in-the-box options from treating sore throats to diagnosing diabetes

What is the main concern of doctors questioning the new Walgreens approach?

Critics wonder whether the expansion of services in retail clinics means that patients with a chronic condition who seek affordable, convenient care will end up forgoing quality, coordinated care. If nurse-practitioners at Walgreens are managing chronic diseases, "having a piece of your blood pressure checked here or your diabetes checked over there means that nobody's taking care of the whole person," says Jeff Cain, M.D., president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

"You miss the opportunity to do prevention, to do diet counseling, to make sure that the diabetes and the blood pressure and heart failure that are complex issues [are] managed together," he says.

How do nurse-practitioners respond to doctors' concerns?

Anne Norman, associate vice president of education of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, counters that nurse-practitioners are indeed treating the "whole person" in retail settings. She says they work to "involve the patient in developing an appropriate plan of care" and concentrate on evidence-based care for the "best patient outcome." Just like doctors.

Alan London, M.D., chief medical officer at Take Care, says he stands by the training of his board-certified nurse-practitioners. For the 40 percent of patients who have no primary care doctor, the staff tries to refer them to one, London says. Having trained side by side with nurse-practitioners, he concludes, "They're wonderful at providing this kind of care."

Also of Interest

Visit the AARP home page every day for great deals and for tips on keeping healthy and sharp

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.


Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Walgreens 1 discount membership aarp

Members get exclusive points offers from Walgreens, Duane Reade and

member benefit aarp hear usa

Members can save 20% on hearing aids with the AARP® Hearing Care Program provided by HearUSA.

AARP membership discount Man trying on eyeglasses at optometrists smiling

Members save up to 60% on eye exams and 30% on glasses at LensCrafters.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Most Popular



Social Security

How to strengthen Social Security for future generations. Discuss

Medicare & Insurance

Share health coverage information and experiences common to being age 50+. Join

Health Nuts

Share heart-smart recipes, fitness tips and stress relievers. Join