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Health firm adds clinics in the area

Take Care, a subsidiary of Walgreens, expects to have 15 to 25 here by the end of next year.

Conshohocken-based Take Care Health Systems Inc., which operates nearly 300 health clinics in Walgreens drugstores, has finally opened some clinics near home.

Take Care, which was founded four years ago and was purchased by Walgreen Co. in 2007, opened retail clinics in the last two weeks in Brookhaven and King of Prussia in Pennsylvania, Sicklerville and Westmont in New Jersey, and Wilmington. A clinic in North Wales opens today and another in Deptford opens tomorrow. Take Care expects to open a clinic in Williamstown next month.

The Walgreens subsidiary plans to have 15 to 25 clinics in the region by the end of next year, said Peter Miller, Take Care's cofounder and its president and chief executive officer.

Take Care waited to enter this market until Walgreens had a greater presence here. "For us to be successful, we have to have broad market penetration," Miller said.

In this area, Take Care has contracts with Aetna Inc., Cigna Corp., Medicare and other insurers. It does not yet have a contract with Independence Blue Cross.

Take Care will enter the New Orleans market later this month and expects to have 330 clinics open around the country by the end of the year. Its plan, Miller said, is to open 100 to 200 clinics a year "for the foreseeable future."

Take Care, which has 100 employees at company headquarters in Conshohocken, and 4,000 overall, expects its clinics, which are staffed by nurse practitioners, to give 250,000 flu shots this year, Miller said. School physicals are also a popular way for people to try out the clinics, which treat common illnesses like strep throat and sinus infections.

Miller sees the clinics as a cost-effective alternative for people with no insurance or those with high-deductible plans. He says they are thriving despite the economic downturn.

"It really hasn't affected us at all," Miller said. "We are very pleased with the way the clinics are performing around the country."