WOONSOCKET, R.I., Jan 08, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- MinuteClinic, the retail health care division of CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS) and the pioneer and largest provider of retail-based medical clinics in the United States, has become the first retail clinic to be re-accredited and earn the Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval(TM) for consecutive evaluation periods by having demonstrated compliance with The Joint Commission's national standards for health care quality and safety.
"This recognition reaffirms our strong commitment to clinical quality and safety that is at the core of everything we do throughout the MinuteClinic organization," said Andrew Sussman, M.D., president of MinuteClinic. "With more than 6 million patient visits and patient satisfaction ratings that exceed 95 percent, we have consistently demonstrated our ability to serve patients and deliver the highest level of care in the more than 40 metropolitan markets we serve throughout the country."
The accreditation applies to MinuteClinic walk-in medical clinics located in select CVS/pharmacy stores in 25 states and the District of Columbia. In September 2006, MinuteClinic was the first retail clinic in the United States to achieve Joint Commission accreditation.
"Accreditation by The Joint Commission sets MinuteClinic apart," says Michael Kulczycki, MBA, executive director, Ambulatory Care Accreditation Program, The Joint Commission. "Organizations awarded this Gold Seal of Approval(TM) dedicate themselves to continuous operational improvement."
MinuteClinic health care centers are staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants who specialize in family health care and are trained to diagnose, treat and write prescriptions for common family illnesses such as strep throat and ear, eye, sinus, bladder and bronchial infections. Minor wounds, abrasions and joint sprains are treated, and common vaccinations such as influenza, tetanus, pneumovax, and Hepatitis A & B are available at all locations. In addition, MinuteClinic administers a series of wellness services designed to help consumers identify lifestyle changes needed to improve their current and future health, including screenings for diabetes, hypertension and obesity.
The Joint Commission conducted unannounced, on-site evaluations of MinuteClinic locations across the country during the third quarter of 2009. The accreditation award recognizes MinuteClinic's dedication to complying with the Joint Commission's state-of-the-art standards on a continuous basis.
Nearly all MinuteClinic medical centers are open seven days a week with weekday evening hours. No appointments are required. Most visits are covered by insurance, and the average price of services for those paying out of pocket is $62.
Every MinuteClinic patient assessment and treatment follows nationally established clinical practice guidelines from the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement, American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics that are embedded in MinuteClinic's electronic medical records system (EMR). Using the EMR, practitioners generate educational material, an invoice, a prescription (when clinically appropriate) and a diagnostic record that can be sent to the patient's primary care provider. A collaborating physician (medical director) is on call during operating hours.
The Joint Commission accreditation supports recent research about the quality of care provided by retail medical clinics. Independent clinical studies, based largely on MinuteClinic data, were published in the September 2009 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. They found that that the quality of care delivered at retail clinics is equal to or higher than emergency rooms, urgent care centers and physician offices, and the cost for services is substantially lower than those offered by these other providers.
About The Joint Commission
Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve the safety and quality of care provided to the public through the provision of health care accreditation and related services that support performance improvement in health care organizations. The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, including more than 8,000 hospitals and home care organizations, and more than 6,800 other health care organizations that provide long term care, assisted living, behavioral health care, laboratory and ambulatory care services. The Joint Commission also accredits health plans, integrated delivery networks, and other managed care entities. In addition, The Joint Commission provides certification of disease-specific care programs, primary stroke centers, and health care staffing services. An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care.
About CVS Caremark
CVS Caremark is the largest provider of prescriptions in the nation. The Company fills or manages more than 1 billion prescriptions annually. Through its unmatched breadth of service offerings, CVS Caremark is transforming the delivery of health care services in the U.S. The Company is uniquely positioned to effectively manage costs and improve health care outcomes through its more than 7,000 CVS/pharmacy and Longs Drugs stores; its Caremark Pharmacy Services division (pharmacy benefit management, mail order and specialty pharmacy); its retail-based health clinic subsidiary, MinuteClinic; and its online pharmacy, CVS.com. General information about CVS Caremark is available through the Investor Relations section of the Company's Web site, at www.cvscaremark.com/investors, as well as through the press room section of the Company's Web site, at www.cvscaremark.com/newsroom.