For a glimpse of one way health care is changing, visit a CVS drugstore in Bellport or Syosset. You'll find a walk-in medical clinic staffed by nurse practitioners who can diagnose and treat routine maladies such as strep throat, sinus infections and minor wounds. Under a deal announced last week, North Shore-LIJ Health System doctors will serve as medical directors for the clinics. They'll be available for consultations with the nurse practitioners, who can then refer patients to doctors or hospitals, though not necessarily those affiliated with the North Shore system.
Those two established clinics are part of a fast-growing national chain and a precursor for more in retail sites islandwide. They operate on the solid premise that you don't need to see a doctor for every little thing that ails you. Good care that is affordable and easily accessible is the wave of the future.