Friday, January 15, 2010

Sick? Got a Minute? Then get thee to CVS MinuteClinic

For an entire month last fall, I was pretty sick and needed to go to the doctor. Every day I would think I would get better the next day so I held off making an appointment. I didn't even have a GP so that was another reason I didn't go to the doctor. Finally when it was so bad I could barely stand up, I called in favors from friends (a nurse and a doctor) and they diagnosed me and the doctor wrote me a prescription. They also convinced me NOT to take the antibiotics left over from a friend's baby's ear infection that I had been offered. I really wish I knew about the CVS MinuteClinic back then.

I got the chance to go in on Wednesday, “Children, Pregnant Women, and Families Flu Vaccination Day,” to get a complimentary H1N1 flu shot at the local CVS MinuteClinic. Not every CVS has a MinuteClinic and I had not been to this particular CVS. When I went in, I didn't even look around the store but headed straight to the pharmacy. After waiting in line to speak with a pharmacist for 10 minutes, it dawned on me that maybe the MinuteClinic wasn't a part of the pharmacy. I had assumed that it was because every other time I've gotten a flu shot at a drugstore pharmacy, the nurse or pharmacist would simply step out of the pharmacy into the adjacent waiting area and administer the shot. It is a bit disconcerting since there are people pushing their shopping carts and looking at you getting a needle stuck in your arm. I know you don't take off any clothing, but it does seem odd to get a medical procedure done while people are walking past. Then there is that risk that a freak runaway cart will hit you right as the needle punctures the skin making the needle break off and getting stuck in your arm. People call me paranoid, but stranger things have happened.

I looked around and saw the sign, MinuteClinic, at the back of the store. There was a separate room and it looked like a real doctor's office. Hurray! Privacy and no risk of getting impaled by a runaway cart! The check-in procedure was really simple. You put your basic information into a computer outside the office and wait your turn. There were no people ahead of me so the entire experience lasted five minutes from my entering my info to getting the shot. The nurse practitioner was very nice and told me that she was giving me the thimerosal free shot even though I told her there was no way I was pregnant.

This week is National Influenza Vaccination Week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced a nationwide effort to encourage more Americans to get the H1N1 flu vaccine, and is urging everyone to protect themselves and their families by getting the H1N1 flu vaccine. CVS MinuteClinic is charging $15 for the H1N1 flu vaccine. I like the MinuteClinic because it is very direct in its pricing. They do take most insurance but if you don't have insurance or want to pay cash for some reason, the rates are very reasonable. I don't know any doctor visit that would cost less than $62, the cost of a minor illness exam at MinuteClinic. I'm glad to know that next time I need to seek medical advice right away, I have the option of going to MinuteClinic.

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