A national trend to put health clinics in retail outlets is coming to the Rock River Valley.
A Las Vegas company will open clinics in the Rockford Kmarts on East State Street and Sandy Hollow Road by Nov. 1.
Sears Holdings Corp. on Sept. 4 took out a building permit to remodel its store and expand the pharmacy at 5909 E. State St. Kimberly Freely, manager of corporate relations for Sears Holdings Corp., said workers will install new lighting, upgrade fixtures, and put in new floors, changing the retail layout as well as expanding the pharmacy area for Medical Mart.
Freely said the Sandy Hollow location will be improved as well.
Sears operates Kmart stores in Belvidere and the two in Rockford as well as a Sears, Roebuck & Co. at CherryVale Mall in Cherry Valley. Sears Holdings converted the Kmart at 1515 E. Riverside Blvd. into a Sears Essentials in 2005.
Having medical clinics in large retail centers is the newest wave in health care. MinuteClinic, a subsidiary of CVS/Caremark Corp., has more than 250 retail medical clinics with locations in Chicago suburbs such as Evanston, Rolling Meadows and Tinley Park. Walgreens subsidiary Take Care Health Systems has more than 50 with all of its Illinois locations.
Unlike Walgreens and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which also is opening health-care clinics in some of its super centers, Medical Mart staffs its clinics with full-time physicians. Walgreens and Wal-Mart have been criticized because their clinics rely on nurse practitioners.
Medical Mart started construction this month on clinics in Meijer Stores in St. Charles, Aurora and Algonquin. The rest of its locations are in Utah.
Assistant Business Editor Alex Gary may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 815-987-1339.