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MinuteClinic, Sharp HealthCare form clinical affiliation

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MinuteClinic, the retail health care division of CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS), and Sharp HealthCare, one of Southern California's largest integrated health systems, have entered into a clinical affiliation to enhance access to health care services throughout San Diego County.

MinuteClinic currently has 10 walk-in medical clinics open seven days a week inside select CVS/pharmacy stores in San Diego County with no appointment necessary. The clinics are staffed by nurse practitioners who provide treatment for common family illnesses and administer wellness and prevention services, including health-condition monitoring.

"It was important for us to develop a clinical affiliation with a system like Sharp HealthCare that delivers high quality services throughout San Diego County and overlaps with our clinic sites which span from Oceanside to El Cajon," said Andrew Sussman, M.D., president, MinuteClinic and senior vice president/associate chief medical officer, CVS Caremark. "We look forward to working with them to integrate our electronic medical record systems, and develop collaborative programs that improve patient outcomes, lower costs and help people on their path to better health."

The clinical affiliation encourages collaboration among Sharp HealthCare and MinuteClinic providers to improve coordination of care for patients seen at these locations. Sharp-affiliated physicians will supervise MinuteClinic nurse practitioners, and if more comprehensive follow-up care is needed, patients can choose to see a Sharp-affiliated physician or another primary care physician.

"Increasing access to care is indeed important, especially in this era of health care reform," said Mike Murphy, CEO of Sharp HealthCare. "MinuteClinic plays an important role in providing patients with timely care at an affordable price, and we are pleased to be part of this effort to help deliver the kind of care that patients want."

MinuteClinic and Sharp HealthCare will begin to work toward integrating electronic medical record systems to streamline communication around all aspects of each individual's care. With patient permission, MinuteClinic will electronically share medical histories and visit summaries with other Sharp HealthCare facilities and physicians. In the meantime, MinuteClinic will continue its standard practice of sending patient visit summaries to primary care providers via fax or mail, typically within 24 hours, with patient consent.

In addition, MinuteClinic and Sharp HealthCare will collaborate on patient education and disease management initiatives and will inform patients of the services each offers.

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