It’s time to roll out the old one-liners about throat cultures in aisle 2, right next to the peanut butter. Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center said Tuesday it will open permanent clinics this fall in Stop & Shop supermarkets in Simsbury and Manchester — accelerating trends in both industries.
The clinics, branded Saint Francis FastCare, will open at the Stop & Shop locations on Bushy Hill Road in Simsbury in September and on Broad Street in Manchester in October. They’ll be staffed by advanced practice registered nurses, who are licensed to prescribe medications.
The clinics “will provide care for common, non-urgent illnesses and ailments such as cold and flu symptoms; administration of flu and shingles vaccines, or vaccinations for children going to summer camp or school; ear infections, insect bites, poison ivy, minor sunburn, sinus infection, and sore throat. On-site tests for rapid strep, urinalysis, urine pregnancy test, monospots and TB skin tests will also be available,” Saint Francis said in a written release that makes clear they are not for life-threatening situations.
The clinics, with extended hours to 8:30 p.m. on weekdays, will be the only primary care clinics in supermarkets in central Connecticut, Saint Francis said. They will take insurance and Saint Francis and Stop & Shop intend to open more locations in the future, hospital spokeswoman Fiona Phelan said.
Unlike larger, free-standing clinics, the supermarket locations do not need state approval. They are popular in some parts of the country, part of the supermarket industry’s effort to offer more services such as banking to attract customers, and the hospital industry’s effort to expand community-based offerings as a lower-cost, higher-profit option.
The two clinics would add ten full-time positions in total, employees working for Saint Francis Care, the hospital’s parent organization.
FastCare is a brand developed by a third partner, Bellin Health of Green Bay, Wis., in 2006. Around that time, health care providers in Connecticut and elsewhere announced partnerships with supermarkets. But the trend did not explode as some people predicted, perhaps because customers prefer to buy their food and treat their flu in separate places, and perhaps because of concerns by physicians that the clinics were not generally staffed by medical doctors.
“Immediate referrals will be made to a physician when symptoms exceed the clinic’s scope of services,” Saint Francis said Tuesday. “After each visit, a report will be sent to the patient’s primary care physician.”