The Massachusetts Department of Public Health said it will propose regulations to govern retail-based and other limited-services clinics in the state.
The decision was prompted by a recent license application made by CVS Caremark Corp.-owned MinuteClinic to open a location at a CVS pharmacy in Weymouth. The facility would be the states first retail-based clinic, and MinuteClinic officials have requested waivers of several operational requirements, including the creation of designated toilet facilities, a wheelchair space in the waiting area and a separate entrance for patients.
In June, citing concerns about infection control and patient-safety monitoring, five Massachusetts medical groups objected to the waiver requests and asked health department officials to hold a public hearing on MinuteClinics application.
Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services JudyAnn Bigby said in a written statement issued Tuesday that the state would postpone reviewing the retailers waiver applications and instead consider broader regulations that would apply to all limited-service clinics. If approved (the regulations) will make the application process for operating limited-service medical clinics transparent to any entity that feels they have a role in their community, Bigby said.
The decision may delay CVS plans for a fall opening of its Weymouth MinuteClinic, as the company would have to reapply under the new regulations should they pass.
The proposed regulations being drafted by health department officials will be considered by the Massachusetts Public Health Council at an Aug. 8 meeting. -- by Shawn Rhea