Long haul truckers will have new options to obtain what many other employed workers take for granted – a quick visit with a primary care physician or nurse practitioner to treat an infected cut, obtain a flu shot, receive follow-up consultations about a condition such as diabetes, or a prescription to ward off a lingering cold or bronchitis. Roadside Medical Clinics, a Florida-based operator of dropin medical clinics, has made arrangements with one of the nation’s largest chain of truck stops to install their primary care practitioners inside the truck stops. The clinics will be installed in approximately 80 of the 300 truck stops operated by Pilot Travel Centers in 41 states. The first location opened in Georgia in early 2008, and more are being opened with the help of physician investors.  

The clinics will offer minor trauma care, general medical care, treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and even sleep disorder screening, a common complaint of over-the-road truckers. All clinics will have on-site laboratory capabilities and will be able to communicate test results either immediately or through follow-up with the truckers on the road within a day or two via digital communications. The care is designed to be affordable, prompt and requires no appointment.

A Houston-area medical group recently contracted with Long Haul Clinics, LLC to be responsible for the development of 11 clinics at truck stops in Oklahoma and Texas. Truckers are more at risk for heart attack, diabetes, hypertension, ulcers and low back pain than the normal population, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since they frequently forgo regular doctor visits due to their travel schedules. The new approach to expanding affordable primary care to those who may not have regular access to this type of care is being touted as part of incremental health reform, and a response to the marketplace needs uniquely delivered through private sector development and investment.