Although growth has slowed considerably, in-store clinic operator MinuteClinic is still expanding its presence inside CVS/pharmacy locations. The company, which is the largest provider of retail-based clinics in the United States with over 600 locations, recently opened two walk-in medical clinics inside San Antonio, TX CVS stores.  MinuteClinic now has 45 locations across four Texas markets making the state one of its top areas in the country.

Clinics are usually headed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants who can diagnose and treat common illnesses and minor wounds. They can also write prescriptions which get transferred immediately to the pharmacy inside the same location, greatly adding convenience for the patient. At MinuteClinic, most health insurance is accepted. Cash or credit payment for treatment starts at $79. The clinics use a software program that at the conclusion of a visit generates the aforementioned prescription, as well as educational material. If a patient desires, a diagnostic record can be sent to the corresponding primary care provider.

Owned by CVS Caremark Corporation, MinuteClinic began opening retail locations in 2000. Currently, it has a presence in 25 states and the District of Columbia. Once seen as an area of retail pharmacy with huge growth potential, in-store clinics didn’t perform as positively as operators hoped. Probability was hard to come by, and some small operators went out of business. Back in 2008 when Chain Store Guide began tracking data for in-store clinic operators, there were nearly 30 in operation. Now, that number has been cut in half, and the top three players are owned by the retailers they partner with. Growth in the clinic industry has come mostly from MinuteClinic and its Walgreens-owned competitor, Take Care, which operates over 360 clinics inside Walgreens locations.

Even though the number of operators has declined, the growth mentioned above has helped the industry expand to over 1,000 retail clinic locations nationwide. With the backing of major corporate players, retail clinics are here to stay and could eventually turn into a profitable tool.