CVS Pharmacy added yet another dimension to the one-stop-shopping customers have come to expect from the drug store chain, with the opening of the Lehigh Valley’s second Minute Clinic last week in Macungie.
Minute Clinic, located inside a CVS store, is a walk-in medical service where customers can go to have their sore throats diagnosed and then head out into the CVS pharmacy to have their cough syrup prescriptions filled all in the same outing. (Picking up a box of tissues or therapeutic chocolate bar is entirely optional.)
The Macungie Minute Clinic joins the Lehigh Valley’s first Minute Clinic, which opened in the CVS store on Catasauqua Road in Bethlehem two weeks ago. According to Tina Attryde, Minute Clinic district manager for Eastern Pennsylvania, CVS is the parent company for Minute Clinic, a relatively new idea in medicine that is spreading like one of the many rashes patients can have treated at Minute Clinic.
No appointments are needed at any Minute Clinics, Attryde explains. Patients come in and head to the Minute Clinic waiting area where they sign in at the computer kiosk with general information such as name and address. Then they are put on a waiting list and told what number patient they are. If no one else is waiting, the patient is seen right away.
Minute Clinics will see patients ages 18-months and up for a laundry list of maladies including ear, nose and throat infections, rashes, colds and coughs, pink eye, urinary tract infections, allergy symptoms, athlete’s foot, ringworm, lice, splinter removal, suture and staple removal.
Plus, Minute Clinic staff can sign off on a variety of physicals, such as camp, school, sports and Department of Transportation forms, as well as handle some wellness visits, including most scheduled vaccines.
In Pennsylvania, Minute Clinics are staffed by certified nurse practitioners, which means the nurses have a least a master’s degree as well as a state certification and license. Plus, the nurse practitioners who run the clinics can write prescriptions and they each report to a medical doctor who can be contacted as needed for consultation on patient cases.
Down the road, Attryde adds, consumers should expect to see smoking cessation and weight loss help among the services offered by Minute Clinic.
Believe it or not, most medical insurances cover treatment at Minute Clinic, Attryde says, but she encourages prospective patients to check with their particular insurance companies before visiting a Minute Clinic just to be sure.
At the start of 2012, Minute Clinic was in 27 states with plans to expand, Attyrde says, and right now, she is in charge of nine of the 24 clinics in Pennsylvania. Although there aren’t specific plans to open more Minute Clinics in the Lehigh Valley right now, Attryde says valley residents can expect more in the future.
“This is an expanding market,” she says, “and I am sure at some point we will be looking to expand up here.”
All Minute Clinics in the Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia areas are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., with a one-hour lunch break that generally happens between 2 and 3 p.m., according to Attryde. On Saturday, she says, the clinics are open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with a half-hour lunch between 1 and 1:30 p.m. and on Sunday the clinics are open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with the same 1 to 1:30 p.m. lunch break.