Duane Reade pioneers retail health clinics trend in NYC

By Michael Stoler | November 22, 2010 11:02AM

alternate text

There are more than 1,000 retail medical clinics in the United States, and they are proliferating in New York City.

Duane Reade is leading the charge in the Big Apple with their walk-in medical clinics. The company will be opening clinics in its two new mega-stores, one in Chelsea and one in Union Square.

And the company plans to open two new centers in Brooklyn and more than 35 throughout the city within the next two years.

There are seven in Manhattan alone.

People with most forms of insurance are accepted (and more insurance companies are jumping on the bandwagon), as are non-insured patients. And now, Medicare patients going to Duane Reade are as well.

Duane Reade clinics and senior citizens got a boon this fall when the federal government certified the New York Walk-in Medical Group, operator of the DR Doctor On-Premises Walk-in Medical Care centers, to receive Medicare payments.

“Now with the acceptance of Medicare at these facilities, we are truly making New York living easy for Duane Reade patients and customers,” said Frank Scorpiniti, senior vice president of pharmacy operations for Duane Reade.

But are people really taking advantage of these retail medical centers?

The number of patients at Duane Reade’s clinics recently passed 100,000, according to Maggie Bertisch, medical director of New York Walk in Medical Group.

Duane Reade and its parent company, Walgreens, are augmenting their medical services with a $29 flu shot, available in the more than 270 locations in the New York metropolitan area. Soon they will be rolling out diagnostic testing and hearing aids.

It’s not just Duane Reade and Wallgreens, or even pharmacies, which have these clinics.

Deloitte reports that 82 percent of retail clinics nationwide are in a retail pharmacy setting. Walgreens and CVS are the leaders in the field, followed by discount department stores, including Walmart and Target. They can be found in supermarkets and suburban malls.

Between the law, the increase in insurance companies approving their services, retail medical centers are here to stay.

Michael Stoler is a columnist for The Real Deal and host of real estate programs “The Stoler Report” and “Building New York” on CUNY TV and on WEGTV in East Hampton. His radio show, “The Michael Stoler Real Estate Report,” airs on 1010 WINS on Saturdays and Sundays. Stoler is a director at Madison Realty Capital as well as an adjunct professor at NYU Real Estate Institute, and a former contributing editor and columnist for the New York Sun.