President Barack Obama is committed to pursuing significant healthcare reform in 2009. Dean Lin, chief executive officer of Careworks Convenient Healthcare retail clinics, sees innovative delivery models like Careworks as a vital part of the solution.

Careworks is a business of Geisinger Health System, an integrated delivery system comprised of hospitals, a large physician group practice and a health plan.

According to Lin, the central and northeastern Pennsylvania-based Geisinger recognised the opportunity to further address both access and cost issues with the establishment of retail health clinics beginning in 2006. The new Obama administration is poised to focus on similar initiatives.

An estimated 47 million people are uninsured, or live in areas where there is a shortage of primary care physicians. As a result, this population often utilises hospital emergency rooms as their main source of care, if any.

The American College of Emergency Physicians recently released its ’2009 State of Emergency Care’ report card, only giving the country’s emergency rooms a C- overall and a D- for access.

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