There are now two things you can do in Massachusetts that you can't do in Rhode Island: marry your same-sex partner and get a flu shot. Two reasons why the Bay State has it all over the Ocean State.
This morning, I took a half-hour drive to lovely Fall River, Mass., to get a seasonal flu shot at a MinuteClinic in a CVS pharmacy. I just filled out a form with my insurance information and another form with some basic medical information and I was out of there in about an hour.
I thought I could get a flu shot from my primary-care physician in Rhode Island, as I do every year. I prefer it that way. Unfortunately, the vaccine is in short supply here. My physician's office ran out and suggested I call drugstores to see whether any of them were offering flu-shot clinics.
It's ironic that the doctor's office would direct me to a drugstore for medical care and that I ultimately ended up getting my flu shot at a MinuteClinic, because the Rhode Island Medical Society has opposed allowing them in the state.
Dr. Frederic V. Christian, formerly head of the RIMS, said “To the extent that MinuteClinic has the effect of diverting patients from primary care, MinuteClinic will become a disruptive player in Rhode Island, potentially undermining doctor-patient relationships, and contributing to the fragmentation and ill-coordination of health care services.”
I understand the need to develop a relationship with a primary-care physician and I have a good one. But what happens when your doctor can't provide the health-care service you need - and the MinuteClinic can? (And how does CVS obtain the flu vaccine that Rhode Island can't get?)
Thank goodness I live near another state that's more forward-thinking and I have the ability to get in my car and drive there. What happens to people who don't have that ability?