Health Clinics Inside Stores Likely to Slow Their Growth Finally some good news. I actually think that if health clinics go mainstream it's a good thing. It means that there is patient population willing to spend cash for basic health services. It opens the doors for FP's and IM's to open their own cash-based practices inside stores that compete directly with the ones run by NP's. If you charge the same amount per visit ($50-$75) as the NP-run clinic, FP's and IM's will have an advantage because if given the choice and same cost most patients will go to a doctor and not a nurse for their health needs. Oh, I can just hear the howls of objections from NP's now. Another likely scenario is that these health clinics become tiny outposts for major hospitals and the physicians yet again exercise some measure of control and supervision. Afterall, patients feel more confident if they know that their health is in the hands of physicians and not just nurses. Tina Galasso, an analyst who follows the retail clinic industry for Verispan LLC, says the cost of setting up an in-store clinic runs about $500,000. That is one reason why much of the future growth in walk-in health centers is expected to come from big companies with deep pockets and from hospital systems that are already well-known within a community and don't have to spend so much on marketing. In a strategy that combines both elements, Wal-Mart plans to partner with hospital systems to open as many as 400 co-branded store clinics by the end of 2010, up from about 50 sites in operation now. That approach is a departure from an earlier strategy under which Wal-Mart leased space to operators like CheckUps that weren't associated with hospital systems.