The Massachusetts Public Health Council voted to pass a set of regulations governing limited-care clinics.
The new rules will require retail-based and other limited-care providers to provide patients and their primary-care physicians with access to electronic records of the patients visits and treatments, among other provisions. The public health departments new medical director has also been appointed to oversee clinical regulation of the clinics.
Overall, our viewpoint is that (the council) took a lot of good steps to improve the quality of care at these clinics, said Richard Gulla, spokesman for the Massachusetts Medical Society, one of five state organizations that this past July had requested hearings on the opening of retail-based clinics in Massachusetts.
The hearings and new regulations came in response to an application made by CVS Caremark Corp.-owned MinuteClinic to open the states first retail-based clinic. The provider was seeking several facility waivers, including a variance on the requirement that all clinics provide a separate room for soiled laundry. Under the new regulations, MinuteClinic will not be granted waivers. The retail-based providers next steps will be to decide on a location for its first Massachusetts clinic, according to MinuteClinic spokesman Brent Burkhardt. -- by Shawn Rhea
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