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Retail Based Clinics: Information for Parents

​In many states, shoppers at local drug or discount stores may find themselves standing next to a health care clinic.

Retail Based Clinics (RBCs) provide limited health care services in a retail store or pharmacy setting and are often staffed by a physician’s assistant (PA) or nurse practitioner (NP) who are not always trained in pediatric medicine. In addition, they will not have access to your child's full medical record.

Coverage Information

Some health plans may provide benefits coverage for RBCs. For example, the cost for minor illnesses treated is often less than a physician office and much less than an emergency department. Many RBCs bill insurance carriers, and some are able to bill for Medicaid.

Where We Stand

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is opposed to health insurance plans offering lower copays or financial incentives for patients to receive care at RBCs instead of their pediatrician or primary care physician.

Concerns About Children’s Care at RBCs

While RBCs appear to be accessible and convenient, they are limited as to the types of conditions they are allowed to treat and do not offer the comprehensive medical evaluation and treatment that a pediatrician is trained to provide. 

Where We Stand

The AAP strongly believes children’s health care is ideally delivered or coordinated through the child’s “medical home” by your child’s own pediatrician, and RBCs do not meet those criteria. As children’s health issues become more complex, the concern exists that even a child with a simple complaint may have a more serious unrecognized condition.

Additional Resources

Last Updated
American Academy of Pediatrics (Copyright © 2013)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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