Physicians Forgotten from Health Is Primary & CVS Collaboration

At the National Press Club this morning, the Health Is Primary campaign (also knows as Family Medicine for America's Health) announced a "collaboration" with CVS Pharmacy and Minute Clinics. In their press release, they state "This initiative will advocate for patient access to coordinated, continuous care and help to ensure that all consumers will have access to a primary care provider."

Initial reaction among some of my social media contacts has been negative. Some stated that it's a "money grab" by CVS under the guise of promoting "America's Health." Organizations like the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) have been watching retail clinics closely. AAFP even says this in their Retail Clinics policy statement: "While retail clinics may provide a limited scope of health care services for patients, this can ultimately lead to fragmentation of the patient's health care, unless it is coordinated with the patient's primary care physician."

And, I think that this is where the Health Is Primary campaign is going with this. I mean, retail clinics are not going away, it would be foolish to try to combat them, because the American public finds value in these clinics, and partnering with them is not a bad thing. You'll see the relevant tweets below from the National Press Club event.

However, there are three initial key questions that I'd like to ask as I was thinking about this morning:

  • What happened to Physicians in this Health Is Primary, CVS, and Minute Clinic collaboration? In the entire 400 word press release, guess how many times the word "Physician" was used: Just once in the title. Meanwhile, the word "provider" was used six times. According to published reports, $20 million dollars have been committed for the promotion of Primary Care, Family Medicine, and (what I thought was) Family Physicians. Even on the FMAHealth website, it states, "A New Initiative Sponsored by Family Medicine." Are the eight Family Medicine organizations feel like they're getting their money's worth when they read this press release?
  • What about the Independent Practice Nurse Practitioner? Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-Nurse Practitioner. We have a nurse practitioner and a physicians assistant who work in our office. However, I believe that the physician is the leader of the health care team, and the NP/PA providers should have a collaborative agreement. Now, current status of collaborative agreements are not perfect, and needs reform. However, in reading this press release, it seems like Health Is Primary is ok with any primary care provider, including the independent practice nurse practitioner. I would ask clarification on this.
  • What about future CVS Health & Minute Clinics future collaborations? Did you know it's National Nurse Practitioner Week? And, our friends at the American Association of Nurse Practitioners are promoting their advocacy points like the aforementioned independent practice nurse practitioner. Why do I forsee a press event next week with the AANP, CVS, and MinuteClinics? What would be the response of the Health Is Primary campaign?

Now, I haven't talked with anyone from Family Medicine for America's Health. These thoughts are just from their press release today and the tweets below from their National Press Club event this morning. Their challenge now is to their marketing, messaging, and communication of this collaboration.