More than a dozen walk-in health care clinics inside Walgreens locations will soon carry the Vanderbilt name. The medical center is taking over these Middle Tennessee clinics as part of its efforts to reach more patients cheaply.
Vanderbilt already has dozens of satellite health clinics outside of its hospital in Nashville, many of which offer basic services and are largely staffed by nurse practitioners.
"We recognized a number of years ago that we needed to reach out into communities and get closer to customers or patients," says C. Wright Pinson, who oversees the Vanderbilt health system.
So in that regard, the agreement with 14 Walgreens locations is a big win, he says. "As you well know, Walgreens does a pretty good job of locating their stores where the rooftops are. So that means we will be locating our clinics will be close to the rooftops as well."
Starting in November, when Vanderbilt takes over the retail clinics, new patients at Walgreens will be integrated into the Vanderbilt system — making it easier for them to see doctors there on a longterm basis.
"I'm not trying to convert every patient to a permanent, chronic patient," Pinson says. "But there is a subset who I think it will be very valuable to be in a system, as opposed to just an unrelated one-off visit."
Pinson says Vanderbilt is hiring about 50 nurse practitioners and several dozen medical assistants to run the new locations.