MU Health Care to open three clinics in Columbia Hy-Vee stores

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 | 5:43 p.m. CST; updated 10:52 p.m. CST, Tuesday, February 25, 2014

COLUMBIA — Each of Columbia's three Hy-Vee locations will open a new walk-in clinic in the fall.

The clinics will serve as an alternative to emergency rooms or primary care physicians, treating people older than one year who have symptoms of common illnesses including upper respiratory symptoms, sore throats, coughs, urinary symptoms, rashes or minor injuries. They will also offer physicals, pregnancy tests, flu shots and some adult immunizations.

Nurse practitioners or physician assistants, who will be remotely supervised by physicians within the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the MU School of Medicine, will provide care.

Matt Rohe, assistant store director at the Hy-Vee on West Broadway, said he thought in-store clinics were fairly new for Hy-Vees in the Midwest. The decision to open clinics in the stores was made by the corporate office with local store directors' support.

"It seemed like a good fit," Rohe said, describing how Hy-Vee promotes health, which mirrors MU's goal of increasing community access to health care.

MU Health Care does not plan to have medical students practicing at these locations, at least at the start, Dr. Michael LeFevre, professor and vice chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine, said. The purpose of the clinics is to provide care as opposed to teaching, he said, though they could be used for teaching in the future.

"We’ll get the clinics up and running and see what the future holds," LeFevre said. 

The concept of in-store clinics isn't a new one. Both CVS and Walgreens pharmacies have stores with walk-in clinics, though neither of the chains' Columbia locations have them.

One of the advantages of the new clinics is being part of the MU Health Care system, LeFevre said. If a patient comes to the clinic with a condition that can't be addressed by the staff there, the clinic can make arrangements for care someplace else within the MU system.

Care at the clinics is intended for all members of the Columbia community, not just existing MU patients, LeFevre said.

“Our goal is to be as accessible as possible,” he said.

Hours and pricing for the clinics have not been finalized. MU anticipates accepting the same insurers at the clinics that they currently accept in the MU Health Care system, Colin Planalp, spokesperson for MU Health Care, said.

Construction will begin mid-March and the clinics are scheduled to open by Aug. 1 at the 25 Conley Road and 405 E. Nifong locations. The clinic at the 3100 W. Broadway Hy-Vee is expected to open Oct. 1.

Supervising editor is Edward Hart.

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