HUDSONVILLE — The newest Meijer Inc. store in West Michigan includes a first for the region: a retail-based medical clinic operated by Spectrum Health.
The Grand Rapids health system plans to use the walk-in clinic inside the Meijer store at 32nd Avenue and Quincy Street, located just south of I-196 in Hudsonville, to gauge the market for other locations in West Michigan.
“It’s something new we’re trying and we’re going to see how it goes,” said Spectrum Health President and CEO Rick Breon. “We’re very interested to see how that works.”
The walk-in clinic opened Thursday last week with the new Meijer store. The clinic provides treatment for minor, non-threatening medical issues such as allergies, bumps and bruises or cold and flu symptoms. Open seven days a week and staffed primarily by physician assistants and nurse practitioners, the clinic accepts insurance and charges $69 per visit for people who are uninsured.
The location gives Spectrum Health a presence in a growing area of southern Ottawa County, and in a location that’s nearby its chief market competitors. Metro Health has a primary care office across the road and Mercy Health is developing an outpatient campus directly south of the new Meijer store.
In venturing into the model of retail-based walk-in clinic, Spectrum Health opens a new entry point for consumers to access basic care.
“The community really wants to have options, and this is an option that’s convenient and affordable,” said Dr. Joel Lopez, an urgent care physician at Spectrum Health. “In health care, it’s hard to know where to go and we just want to make it really easy and help you get into a primary care office.”
The walk-in clinic is the latest collaboration between Spectrum Health and Meijer.
The Walker-based retailer in 2015 opened a pharmacy at Spectrum’s Butterworth Hospital campus in downtown Grand Rapids, and last fall Meijer began stocking co-branded over-the-counter medications at 23 stores in 13 counties in West Michigan that correlate with the health system’s geographic market.
Retail walk-in medical clinics have been a trend in health care for years, offering greater access and convenience for patients in a lower-cost setting, although they’ve been somewhat slow to catch on in West Michigan.
One of the largest operators of walk-in, retail-based clinics in the U.S. is CVS Health Corp., which operates more than 1,130 MinuteClinic locations at CVS or Target stores in 32 states and the District of Columbia. That includes 16 MinuteClinic locations in Southeast Michigan.
In the Kalamazoo area, Bronson Healthcare operates two Bronson FastCare clinics, one of which is based at the Meijer store in Portage. Bronson plans to open a third FastCare clinic on Aug. 1 in South Haven in an office suite across the street from Bronson South Haven Hospital.
In addition to treatment for minor medical conditions, the Bronson FastCare locations offer lab work such as tests for pregnancy, mononucleosis, and strep, as well as urinalysis and sports physicals for student athletes.
“There has been a very positive community response to the Bronson FastCare locations in Kalamazoo and Portage, and we are certain that this quick, convenient and affordable service will be well received and meet many people’s needs here in South Haven,” said Kirk Richardson, chief operating officer at Bronson South Haven.