As a working mom with five kids under age 11, Amy Hinton needs a health care option that can save her time and money and give her good care.
The Haysville resident said she’s found that with the new walk-in clinics at the Dillons Marketplace stores in northwest Wichita, near where she works, and in south Wichita, near where she and her family live.
The options for retail-based, walk-in medical clinics doubled to 10 last year for area residents when the Little Clinic, a Tennessee-based firm owned by Dillons parent Kroger Co., opened clinics in five Dillons Marketplace stores in the greater Wichita area, including in Derby and in Andover. It also opened a Little Clinic in a Hutchinson Dillons store.
The pharmacy chain Walgreens has operated five walk-in clinics in Wichita since 2008.
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Hinton has been an early and returning patient of the Little Clinic. She particularly likes the convenient locations inside a store with a pharmacy and the fact that she or her family members can be seen without a long wait, she said. Like the one day in February when she got a call from her 18-month-old daughter’s day care that Addyson was running a 101-degree fever. She wasn’t able to get the girl into her regular doctor that day, plus Hinton wasn’t feeling well herself.
After picking up Addyson, she went to the Little Clinic inside the Dillons store at 4747 S. Broadway. Within 30 minutes, the two were seen by a board-certified nurse practitioner, and in the next 15 minutes, while waiting for prescriptions to be filled, Hinton shopped for some over-the-counter medications and Pedialyte for Addyson.
“Within an hour, I made it home in time to take care of the other kids,” said Hinton. “I’m a career-oriented mom with five kids and a husband who also works, so it’s all about convenience.”
She also noted that her $15 co-pay to the clinic for an office visit is far cheaper than a visit to an emergency room.
“It happens every day that we see patients who have providers but they need care immediately and they don’t need to visit the ER,” said Halie Guinn, a nurse practitioner who serves as the regional clinical director for Little Clinics in Kansas.
The steady pace of patients for not only acute care but preventative and wellness visits tells her another thing, she said: “It tells me that consumers want access to health care where they live, play, work and shop.”
The Little Clinics and the Walgreens Healthcare Clinics are open seven days a week, with a board-certified nurse practitioner who can see patients for acute, non-emergency care, as well for prevention and wellness services, management for ongoing conditions such as high blood pressure or asthma, and physicals for work or sports. Most insurance plans are accepted, and no appointments are needed.
Patients as young as 12 months can be seen at the Little Clinic, while patients need to be 18 months or older to be seen at the Walgreens Healthcare Clinic.
Officials for Dillons Little Clinics and Walgreens Healthcare Clinics won’t disclose how many patients are seen in their clinics but say the clinics remain busy and there is a demand for this care. They also would not disclose whether more clinics in the Wichita area are planned.
In 2014, Walgreens released results of a study that showed visits to its Healthcare Clinic locations nationwide for preventive services, screening and chronic conditions had increased from 4 percent of visits in 2007 to 17 percent in 2013. The study also showed more of Walgreens’ patients were returning for care from its clinics, from 15 percent in 2007 to more than 50 percent in 2012 and 2013.
At the time of the study’s release, Walgreens officials said the increases show that retail-based, walk-in clinics are playing a key role in providing patients with access to health care.
Officials for Dillons say their in-store clinics also have an extra benefit: that of being inside a grocery store that offers fresh produce and healthy options.
“If we’re counseling someone about weight or a condition like high blood pressure, we can go out with them and show them some options for their diet,” Guinn said.
Guinn said the Little Clinics have a health care affiliation with Via Christi to help offer patients choices for treatment if they need specialized or a higher level of care. Little Clinic staff also can help patients find a primary care provider, Guinn said.
Locations, hours for area retail clinics
Little Clinics in Dillons Marketplaces
▪ 7707 E. Central
▪ 4747 S. Broadway
▪ 10222 W. 21st St.
▪ 225 E. Cloud Ave., Andover
▪ 1624 N. Rock Road, Derby
Hours for all locations are 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m. weekdays, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturdays, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Sundays, with 45-minute closures on weekdays and 30-minute closures on weekends for lunch, beginning at 1:30 p.m.
Walgreens Healthcare Clinics
▪ 710 N. West St., 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. daily
▪ 5505 E. Harry, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily
▪ 3770 N. Woodlawn, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. daily
▪ 555 N. Maize Road, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays; 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and 9:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Sundays
▪ 9525 E. 21st St., 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. daily