May 26, 2009

Poorer areas short of retail clinics

Retail medical clinics were expected to help meet medical needs of the uninsured, but many are in more advantaged neighborhoods, U.S. researchers said.

Dr. Craig Evan Pollack and Dr. Katrina Armstrong of the University of Pennsylvania mapped locations of retail clinics as of July 2008 and linked them to the 2000 U.S. Census and 2008 Health Resources and Services Administration data.

A total of 930 retail clinics were geocoded to the continental United States. Eighteen states had no retail clinics and 17 states had 25 or more clinics, the authors said in a statement.

The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found five states had more than 50 clinics including: Florida with 112, California with 90, Texas with 85, Illinois at 58 and Georgia at 56.

Compared with census tracts without retail clinics, those tracts with retail clinics had a lower percentage of black and Hispanic individuals, fewer rental units and lower rates of poverty. In addition, the census tracts had residents with higher median incomes and higher rates of home ownership, the study authors said in a statement.