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Retail-Based Clinics

Reaffirmed April 2014

Originally approved April 2008


The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) recognizes the increasing prevalence of retail-based clinics, and believes the following attributes are important to patient care:

  • Scope of Service: Retail clinics should have a well-defined and limited scope of clinical services. A list of services provided by the clinic and the qualifications of the on-site health care provider should be furnished prior to services being rendered.  Any marketing materials should also reflect the qualifications of the on-site health care provider.
  • Providers: Allied health providers, such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, should operate under appropriate physician supervision and in accordance with local and state regulations, and licensure requirements.
  • Coordination of Care: The clinic should maintain formal connections with other area physician practices, clinics, hospitals, and emergency departments in order to maximize effective resource utilization and information exchange within the community. Clinics should encourage all patients to have a primary care provider and provide information leading to appropriate referrals to local medical practices for ongoing care.
  • Patient Health Records: The clinic must maintain a robust system of maintaining medical records that are accurate, complete, easily accessible, and retrievable. Information from the clinical encounter should be available to the patient's primary care provider.
  • Referrals: The clinic must have a well-defined referral system for patients who present with symptoms beyond the clinic's defined scope of clinical services. These guidelines should include: indications for transfer, transfer agreements, detailed protocols for effective communication and transfer of information, and consideration of appropriate methods of transportation.
  • Patient Protection: Retail-based clinics should be regularly inspected and subject to well-defined state and local standards and regulations. Policies and procedures must be in place to ensure adequate protection of patients and families with regard to HIPAA requirements, patient confidentiality, appropriate transfer of medical information, and infection control. Retail-based clinics should be staffed and equipped to handle emergency complications of the care that is provided.
  • Quality of Care: Clinical services and treatment must be evidence-based and quality improvement oriented.

Download the Policy

PDF Icon Retail-Based Clinics.pdf November 2018
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