After opening 10 convenience care clinics within four years throughout the Valley, Cigna Medical Group (CMG) is locating its 11th clinic away from its usual, suburban retail setting and into a supermarket — Food City.
Partnering with Food City, CMG, the physician practice unit of Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, opened its no-appointment, no-insurance clinic within the supermarket on West Thomas Road in an effort to make care more accessible as well as continue to serve the diverse Phoenix community, specifically the Hispanic community.
“We felt it was very important for us to find new and innovative ways to really connect with that population,” says Henri Cournand, vice president of business development, CIGNA. “Through our research, we found that the Hispanic community is very loyal, and it’s a community that really has a trust in brand.”
This is where Food City comes into play, which, according to Cournand, is a trusted brand within the Arizona marketplace that has existing credibility with a targeted population.
In order to connect with the community and cater to its needs, both physically and culturally, CMG CareToday packaged its marketing around the Hispanic population and found areas that resonate with them — including nursery rhymes.
“One of our awareness strategies circles around a Spanish nursery rhyme called “Sana, Sana,” Cournand says, “and it’s sung to kids in Mexico when something hurts.”
CMG CareToday is also equipped with a bilingual staff. While it has been a challenge to find bilingual board certified nurse practitioners and physician assistants, at least one of the two staff members at the clinic at any time is bilingual, adding to the patient’s experience.
“We’ve really tried to make sure that when patients comes in and they’re engaged by our clinical staff, they feel safe,” Cournand says. “We try to connect with them not only around the medicine but also around things that are going to be relevant to them in a cultural perspective. And a lot of that speaks to how we communicate with the patients as well as the medical advice we give the patient.”
The clinic offers care for minor, low-acuity ailments and injuries, including coughs, cold, flu, ear aches, strep throat and conjunctivitis as well as sports physicals, immunizations and pregnancy tests. But what sets the CareToday clinics apart from the rest — aside from its bilingual staff and culturally-specific marketing — are its hours of operation and low costs.
CMG CareToday is open every day, except Thanksgiving and Christmas, until 7 p.m. weekdays and 5:30 p.m. on weekends. And the prices are lower than those of its primary competitors, too. Most regular visits are $59; competitors are priced closer to $75 a visit. Common lab services are $10.
Cournand says while the low-cost, no-appointment, no-insurance clinic industry had exponential growth at one point, it’s leveling off, and with the shortage of primary care physicians, CareToday is where people can go to “engage and get the care they need in the time and place that they need it.”
So far, response to the CMG CareToday in Food City has been positive with more than 70 percent of patients returning to the clinic. Cournand says word of mouth has helped gain visibility in the community.
“The summer months are the slowest months with less volume,” Cournand says. “But we’re really looking forward to the fall time period with the flu season and large volumes as a good indictor with regards to how well it’s being accepted into the local community.”
For more information about the CMG CareToday clinics, visit www.caretoday.com.