CVS Gets Green Light To Open Retail Clinics In RI

May 15, 2014

The nation’s largest pharmacy chain has been given the green light to open seven retail health care clinics in Rhode Island. CVS pharmacies’ MinuteClinics would see patients for minor illnesses and perform some routine health screenings. But state health officials' approval comes with several conditions.

CVS Caremark is headquartered in Woonsocket, RI.
Credit Megan Hall / RIPR

Within a couple of months, patients should be able to walk in to MinuteClinics inside CVS pharmacies in Woonsocket, Cranston, North Smithfield, East Greenwich, Providence, Wakefield, and Westerly. And according to the application CVS filed with the state health department, the clinics will be staffed by two nurse practitioners and open evenings and weekends, seven days a week.

Doctor groups raised some concerns about the clinics, saying they might harm patient relationships with primary care providers. And state health officials mulled other concerns, like the potential conflict of interest of health care providers working for the very pharmacy where you might feel obligated to pick up your prescriptions.

But regulators approved the opening of the clinics as long as 22 conditions were met. They include a requirement that clinics tell patients they are free to buy their prescriptions anywhere and that any patient who doesn’t already have a primary care physician will get a referral to one. The clinics will be allowed to treat children 18 months and older.

You can read the health department's decision here.