I was pumping my gas the other day at Kroger when I saw a small advertisement hanging off the pump touting “sports physicals for $39” as if this was supposed to be a bargain. I know the summertime is filled with kids who need their physical forms filled out by a certain deadline so they can participate. Our office can usually accommodate these deadlines. However, a yearly physical is about more than just getting “a form filled out.” Reviewing your child’s growth and development, updating immunizations, and reviewing the treatment of chronic problems such as asthma and acne are things that should be addressed. However, I don’t usually see these things getting done at the local urgent cares or retail based clinics. Furthermore, well care (which includes sports physicals) usually requires no copay from patients – they’ve already paid for it with their insurance premiums. Why would someone want to pay an additional $39 for care which is usually not up to the standards that are set by the American Academy of Pediatrics?
Personally, I don’t like the idea of a provider being located in a pharmacy – I think there is a conflict of interest present when a provider makes more money based on how many medications he/she prescribes. I see children come out of urgent cares with 2 and 3 prescriptions (that will have no benefit for the child) for the common cold. This is not what I call quality health care.
There is a place for urgent cares. If a family is out of town with a mild illness (swimmer’s ear or strep throat for example), visiting one of these places instead of an emergency room is not necessarily a bad idea (I would still recommend calling your regular doctor first, however, because you may not need to be seen at all). But for more severe illness, or any kind of well child care, I think this is a poor choice for your child’s health.
Contact Us (859-525-8181) if you have any questions about this subject or want to schedule a well care visit.