April 4, 2008, 9:27 AM ET
A Retail Clinic for Healthy People
Health care would be a great business if it weren’t for all the sick people. Richard McCauley, MD, may have fixed that.
“If you cough, you’re in the wrong place,” he told the Ventura County Star. His store, WellnessMart, sells things like screening tests, checkups and vaccinations. McCauley doesn’t take health insurance, but he’d be glad to sell you a health insurance policy.
The store, which recently moved from the hallway of a health club to a strip mall in Thousand Oaks, Calif., posts prices for everything on the wall. Nutrition counseling for a month costs $40, and vaccination for hepatitis A costs $89, the County Star says.
The store has the ring of the retail clinics popping up in drugstores and big-box stores, offering basic health-care services. The key difference, of course, is that retail clinics treat sick people, albeit only those with simple ailments such as sore throats.
Critics have suggested that many new health care businesses aim to skim off the simplest, healthiest patients, leaving complex, sicker patients for others to deal with. McCauley’s business certainly fits the bill.
But he argues that the cost and difficulty of seeing the doctor means many healthy people go without basic preventive care. “Why is it that sick people and healthy people go to the same places for care?” he says.