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Many Parents Turning To Retail Clinics For Pediatric Care

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The price of taking a child to a doctor’s office has become so expensive that some moms and dads are opting to take their kids to retail clinics for medical care.

The clinics, often staffed by pharmacists or nurse practitioners, are cheaper than going to see a pediatrician, but some Texas doctors say there’s a reason for that.

Doctor Gary Floyd, with the Texas Medical Association, explained that retail clinic health workers might not be versed in the various treatment options viable for children.  “They certainly are not pediatric trained and in that respect they do tend to use more antibiotics than most pediatricians do.”

Floyd said taking a child to one of the clinics for a runny nose and cough is one thing, but for care determinant on a child’s development a board certified physician could recognize a broader range of issues and symptoms that may be faint. “They can pick up subtle findings, whether it’s growth and development, social skills, or subtle heart murmurs.” He says health issues like those can lead to a lifetime of problems if not caught early.

It’s also important to remember workers in retail clinics aren’t paid by revenue from an established client base — often the company who houses the clinic pays them. “When you’re being paid directly by the pharmacy it’s more conducive to suggest their products,” Floyd said.

A recent study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics took their children to retail clinics because their location and hours were more convenient. The most common child ailments treated at the clinics were: sore throat, ear infection, and colds or flu.

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