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From left to right: Dr. Robert Piotrowski, family medicine physician, Advocate Medical Group; Bonnie Kriescher, vice president of human resources, Advocate Medical Group; Dr. James Dan, president, Advocate Medical Group; Dr. Lee Sacks, chief medical officer, Advocate Health Care; Evelyn Sanguinetti, Lt. Governor, State of Illinois; Pamala Smith, chief nursing officer, Advocate Medical Group; Donna Cooper, chief operating officer, Advocate Medical Group; Pat Carroll, chief medical officer of healthcare clinics, Walgreens; Richard Ashworth, president of pharmacy and retail operations, Walgreens

Photo courtesy of Advocate Health Care

Illinois’ largest health care system expanded its reach when it began operating 56 clinics located in Walgreens stores across eight counties recently. The clinics, each branded as Advocate Clinic at Walgreens, join an Advocate family of more than 250 sites of care, including 22 other immediate care sites.

Donna Cooper, COO of Advocate Medical Group, says the new sites are intended to complement and expand upon the health system’s existing immediate care footprint rather than compete with it.

“While the services offered are similar to our other immediate care sites,” she explains, “the advocate clinic sites provide our patients with additional access points in convenient neighborhood locations.”

Advocate Clinics at Walgreens are staffed by board-certified nurse practitioners and medical assistants who are employed, trained and supervised by Advocate Medical Group. The sites offer physicals, vaccinations and treatment for a range of common illnesses and injuries.

Lee Sacks, M.D., Advocate’s chief medical officer and executive vice president, says the additional sites will advance Advocate’s population health efforts and care coordination by offering families and individuals convenient care locations. It plans to expand care to children as young as six months by January 2017.

“Advocate Clinic at Walgreens allows us to deliver the right care at the right time in the right setting to ensure high-quality care at a lower cost for consumers,” he says.

Cooper says that although there are no definitive plans as of today, there may be more opportunities to expand Advocate Clinic at Walgreens in the future if a need is identified. The system is evaluating adding clinics near Advocate Trinity Hospital on Chicago’s South Side and Advocate BroMenn Hospital in Normal, Ill.

Most clinic locations are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on weekends from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cooper says that although patient waiting areas are adjacent to the store pharmacy, all care and consultations are administered in closed exam rooms to maintain patient privacy.