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    Health Clinics Debut at Five Fla. Walgreens

    The walk-in facilities offer patients better access to high-quality, affordable health care.

    :Take Care Health Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Walgreens, has opened five Take Care Health Clinics at Walgreens drug stores in the West Palm Beach, Fla. area. The clinics are walk-in centers open seven days a week, with extended evening and weekend hours. An additional clinic will open in the area over the next few weeks.

    The clinics are at Walgreens stores in Delray Beach, Greenacres, Jupiter, Lantana, and Loxahatchee, with the sixth location to open in Boca Raton.

    West Palm Beach is the fourth Florida market with Take Care Health Clinics, after Miami, Orlando, and Tampa. Take Care plans to have over 400 clinics in Walgreens locations by the end of this year.

    "Take Care Health Clinics have been incredibly well received in our existing Florida markets and across the country, with more than 475,000 patients treated since November 2005 and exceedingly high patient satisfaction ratings," noted Take Care president and c.e.o. Peter Miller in a statement. "Take Care Health Clinics truly fill a niche in the communities we serve, by providing a high-quality, affordable, and convenient health care option for patients, on their terms."

    The clinics are staffed by board-certified family nurse practitioners who treat patients 18 months and older for such common illnesses as strep throat, ear and sinus infections, pink eye, and poison ivy, and are licensed to write prescriptions that may be filled at the patient's pharmacy of choice. The Nurse Practitioners also provide school, sports, and camp physicals, and administer flu, hepatitis B, meningitis, and tetanus vaccinations.

    Features of the clinics include innovative patient registration kiosks and electronic medical record technology for visit documentation.

    Take Care has teamed with national insurance plans such as Aetna, ChoiceCare, CIGNA, Coventry, Great West Healthcare, Humana, Multiplan/PCHS, and UnitedHealthcare to provide covered services to patients, and also accepts Medicare. Additional regional insurance plans will be added soon, according to the company. If insured by one of these plans, patients pay their regular co-pay. For uninsured patients or cash payers, the price of a visit ranges from $59 to $74.

    If a patient's condition is beyond the scope of service at the clinic, the patient is referred back to his/her primary care provider for follow-on care. If the patient has no primary care provider, nurse practitioners will offer a list of providers in the area accepting new patients.

    Take Care is part of Walgreens' recently formed Health and Wellness Division. The drug store operator has said it will acquire Chadds Ford, Pa.-based I-trax, Inc., parent company of CHD Meridian Healthcare, LLC, and privately held Whole Health Management of Cleveland, Ohio two operators of worksite health clinics. Including Take Care Health Clinics, Walgreens will have over 500 worksite and retail health clinics under its Health and Wellness Division when these deals are completed.

    Take Care manages 162 clinics in 16 cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Miami, Milwaukee, Nashville, Orlando, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Tampa, Tucson, and West Palm Beach.

    Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens, the nation's largest drug store chain, operates 6,271 stores in 49 states and Puerto Rico.

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