It seems perverse to deliver healthcare services at a place called the Minute Clinic. The kind of physician-patient relationship that can be cultivated in a minute is not one to write home about. While CVS and Walgreens see geriatric primary care as yet another untapped gold mine, for me, the relationship memorialized in Norman Rockwell’s “Physician” resonates as much today as it did 90 years ago. Seamless ecosystems are no match for a “willingness to place professional expertise at the feet of childhood magic.”
Recently, a jury in Oklahoma City ordered insurance giant Aetna to pay $25 million to the family of Orrana Cunningham, an Aetna customer who died of cancer after the company refused to cover radiation therapy. “The jury ruled that Aetna recklessly disregarded its duty to deal fairly and in good faith with Cunningham,” according to a Nov. 10 article by the Associated Press.
CVS considers having a medical degree to be an “obstacle” to affordable medical care, which they plan to eliminate with “one-stop shopping,” having pharmacists and nurses practicing medicine by protocol. A segregated, two-tiered healthcare system will ultimately emerge as Aetna members are directed to “Minute Clinics” without access to physicians while those on other commercial insurance plans will see the physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant of their choice.