CVS Pharmacy One of the major shifts in the primary care landscape has been the emergence of urgent care and retail health clinics across the country–in big cities, small towns, drugstores and strip malls. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The health care system continues to get more expensive without commensurate improvements in quality and access. Employers and other health care purchasers under constant pressure to rein in costs are seeking innovative ways to offer their plan members access to high quality and affordable care. As a result, urgent and retail care centers are seeing a resurgence, presenting new opportunities and challenges for purchasers and their members.

Urgent care facilities and retail clinics have existed since the late 20th century, commonly attached to hospitals to treat minor conditions. Privately owned clinics were briefly popular in the 1970s and 80s, but were met with aggressive marketing and acquisition by hospital systems, and derided by the medical community as a “doc in a box.” By 2000, most urgent care and retail providers were gone, either merged into existing emergency departments (EDs) or closed.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to, part of your ALM digital membership.

Your access to unlimited content isn’t changing.
Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Critical information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

Already have an account?


© 2023 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.

BenefitsPRO Broker Expo 2024Event

The premier educational and networking event for employee benefits brokers and agents.

Get More Information


Join BenefitsPRO

Don’t miss crucial news and insights you need to navigate the shifting employee benefits industry. Join now!

  • Unlimited access to - your roadmap to thriving in a disrupted environment
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and
  • Exclusive discounts on and ALM events.

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join BenefitsPRO

Copyright © 2023 ALM Global, LLC. All Rights Reserved.