May 6, 2011

Walgreens Now in Minimal Primary Care Mode

When I wrote about this back in November, I thought this was going to be a lot more comprehensive primary care. It may well get there, but for now Walgreens is doing something positive and at a reasonable cost. For people without insurance, this could be very beneficial. And time will determine if this is successful.

Walgreens is advising people that test over the limits to consult their doctor and share the results with the doctor. The one question bothering me is whether they require fasting before the taking the tests. If people can just walk in and have the tests done, then this could be a weakness in the system that needs to be corrected to make the tests more reliable.

The press release did state that the tests are not for diagnostic and treatment purposes and they are not conclusive as to the absence or presence of any health condition. Since the pharmacists administer the tests by finger stick this would have to be the case. The costs of the tests are - total cholesterol and HDL - $30; blood glucose - $20; A1C (for self-identified diabetics only) - $35; and blood pressure - free with every health test. This totals to $85.

While the tests are not cheap for the finger stick method, this could give people an idea about whether to schedule an appointment with their primary care physician. Not all Walgreens stores and outlets are doing these tests, you can look here for one near you that does the tests.

This if nothing more is doing some preventive care and for people over certain ages should at least have these test on a regular basis. This is explained in the article here, and should be read by everyone. One age requirement is that the person must be at least age 18 or older.

At present, I have not read about any other national or regional pharmacies offering these tests, but I am sure we will hear about this if and when it happens.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think the glucose is the only one of those affected by fasting and a lot of people will have years of dangerously high aftermeal BGs before FBG starts deteriorating. The only reason you usually have to fast for cholesterol tests is to get an accurate triglyceride count so they can use Friedewald to calculate LDL and they aren't testing for that.