CHICAGO — Several physician groups at the annual American Medical Association meeting held here said Sunday that the AMA should seek a ban on retail clinics, according to a report in yesterday’s Chicago Tribune. At the meeting, some groups said that the lack of doctors at retail clinics places the health of patients at risk. Others said that nurse practitioners lack the ability to properly treat patients younger than age three. "There is no more urgent issue than this for the AMA," Dr. Kamran Hashemi, a family physician from South Barrington, Ill., said in the report. If the AMA does nothing, Hashemi said, "in five years, the chairs [at the AMA] meeting will be filled with representatives from Walgreens, Wal-Mart" and other retail outlets. Most retail clinics are staffed by nurse practitioners who will treat a limited number of common ailments. AMA policy on retail clinics does currently address standards, such as the use of electronic health records. The AMA meets through Wednesday to set policy and will make recommendations on clinics before the full 555-member House of Delegates by then. AMA action on such issues means the group will use its lobbying clout to push for federal laws to increase regulation and slow the growth of clinics, the report said.
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