Not only are retail clinics planning to add additional locations in the coming years, they are also planning to expand their partnerships with hospitals and healthcare organizations. In a recent interview with FierceHealthcare, Dr. Andrew Sussman, president of MinuteClinic and Senior Vice President/Associate Chief Medical Officer of CVS Caremark, said the company has created clinical collaborations with 18 healthcare systems since 2009, and it plans to form additional partnerships throughout the United States. CVS’ Caremark’s MinuteClinic has 600 locations in 25 states and Washington D.C. Retail clinics such as MinuteClinics and Walgreens’ Take Care Clinics are staffed by nurse practitioners who provide convenient cost-effective care to patients with common illnesses, minor injuries, and skin conditions. Patients can also visit retail clinics for vaccinations, health screenings, and physicals. Under the clinical collaboration agreements, MinuteClinics and hospitals systems share clinical information on patients and work together on education initiatives. MinuteClinics also refer individuals to the hospital system when their condition requires a higher level of care. Many think retail clinics serve mainly the uninsured, underinsured, or individuals without primary care physicians, but in reality they offer an entrance into healthcare systems for all individuals. According to Sussman, 80% of MinuteClinic patients are insured, and only half are without a primary care physician. Retail clinics represent a convenient option for individuals who need basic healthcare services. As retail clinics continue to expand, they may help to reduce overcrowding in local emergency departments, by providing care to individuals who require a lower level of care. They may also free up primary care physicians to make more time for individuals with more serious medical conditions.