I know some of you can relate to this scenario. You are at home or work or school and start feeling really rotten. You need to get in to see the doctor but when you call you find out there is no way they can squeeze you in for an appointment today. Ugh. The emergency room is an option but very expensive and a long wait so you need something like a Healthcare Clinic – which is what I found in St. Louis (all around town). A place to get medical attention in a pinch.
When I was younger we had a doctor, Dr. Manansala, who was phenomenal and always squeezed you in but it is hard to find that anymore. Since I am self-employed my schedule is more flexible, but Hubby and T both have more fixed schedules for work and school and can’t just go anytime. This is why I was happy to learn more about the Walgreens Healthcare Clinics (they used to be called Take Care Clinics). Hubby is really the one this applies most too because he has asthma and at certain times of the year it can get bad and get bad fast! An ER visit for a nebulizer treatment would cost us $300 for our copay – ouch! What I found out is that Hubby can stop in any of the Walgreens Healthcare Clinics and get a treatment and only has to be our regular $35 copay and they are open until 7:30 during the week which means he can go after work even. Hubby is not a fan of spending money on his own health (I make him) so this is an option he really likes for both the money saving aspect and the convenience.
When we walked into our Walgreens there were tons of BIG signs about the Healthcare Clinic – you could not miss them if you tried! There were actually plenty of signs outside too.
I had not looked at the hours before we went to Walgreens so we were a bit sad that they were closed, but we still took a look around and were able to find out quite a bit. As I mentioned though the hours go into the evening and even on Saturday and Sunday. I know my Hubby has odd hours like many others so this is really helpful. Plus, if you are traveling or just new in a town and need some medicine or something you can just find your local Walgreens Healthcare Clinic and go in right away.
It was super easy to spot where to sign in whether you had an appointment or were just walking in to see the nurse practitioner. Some locations allow for scheduled appointments, others do not. I would suggest finding out what the policy is for the Healthcare Clinic locations near your home and work ahead of time so you know.
I could not see into the exam room, but I could see that it was a private exam room and not just out in the open where others could see you. This is good to know because while some would not care, most of us like some privacy when we want to talk about medical issues.
They had two kiosks at the Healthcare Clinic also. One was in English, the other in Spanish. On the screen you could do several things like schedule an appointment, see what services are and are not offered, see other locations, and much more. The screen is a touch screen but not to worry, they had hand sanitizer right there also if you wanted to make sure you killed any germs after using the screen.
I decided to call and ask more about the Healthcare Clinics and talked to support staff at their national hotline. Some key things I learned:
- Most major medical insurance is accepted – bring your insurance card and valid ID
- Visits at the Healthcare Clinic for illnesses are treated just like an office copay at your regular doctor. For us that is $35 – it is whatever you would pay at your doctor’s office.
- Physicals are not billed to insurance though – I’m not sure why – but I was told those are at the discretion of the nurse practitioners at each location. So just check if you need this service.
- If you need a flu shot or other vaccine you only pay the cost of the vaccine! If your insurance covers vaccines then there is no cost to you at all. Nice!
- Common ailments like cold, cough, flue, sore throats, bronchitis, asthma, chicken pox, tick and insect bites, rashes, joint paint, UTI and bladders infections are all things that they can help you with at the Healthcare Clinic
- They do not do stitches
- They can also help with management of health issues like blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, arthritis, and other things.
Even throughout the pharmacy area of Walgreens I was surprised, and happy, to see a lot of useful signs like these. Along with the various over the counter medications and treatments the signs answered some common questions or, like the one above, gave a QR code you could scan for even more details. I must have counted at least 20 of these kinds of signs at our Walgreens.
These are some screenshots from the Walgreens app I have on my Windows Phone 8 (it is also available for iOS and android) and I can look up the stores around my location and see who has the Healthcare Clinic and what the hours are along with what other services they have. This will be great for when I am not right by my home where my regular Walgreens is so I can find a Healthcare Clinic if needed.
While I was glad no one was sick the day of our visit, I am really glad that I checked it out ahead of time. You can see the rest of the photos I took on my Google+ album. Now I have another option when someone in the family is sick. Hubby, I bet, will use the Walgreens Healthcare Clinic before the year is out! I really encourage you to just go take a look at the Healthcare Clinic at your local Walgreens when you have a chance just so you know where it is and what options you have if you should need them. Of course, I hope none of us never really need them – wishful thinking I know.
What do you think you or a family member might use Walgreens Healthcare Clinics for?
© 2013, Robyn Wright. All rights reserved.