Target Corp. and Kaiser Permanente are launching another 31 clinics in the retailer’s stores in Southern California.

In 2014, Target started collaborating on a new model for retail clinics at four stores with California-based Kaiser Permanente, which is one of the nation’s most prominent providers of both health care and health insurance.

Kaiser contributed the health care providers, while Target offered the retail space for the four clinics. Now, the partnership is being expanded with administration of the clinics provided by MinuteClinic, a division of Rhode Island-based CVS Pharmacy, which bought the Target pharmacy business in 2015. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“Guests in our four pilot stores have told us they appreciate having access to high-quality health care services from Kaiser Permanente during their Target run,” said Steve Lafferty, senior director for wellness at Target, in a statement. “Expanding the number of Target Clinic locations makes these offerings available to even more Southern California guests.”

Small retail clinics that care for a limited set of ailments was a made-in-Minnesota innovation launched at a grocery story in the Twin Cities in 2000. The company that opened the first retail clinic eventually became known as MinuteClinic, which was based in Minneapolis before being acquired by CVS in 2006 for $170 million.

Retail clinics have been touted as a way to control health care costs, since they charge less than emergency rooms or traditional clinics when caring for minor health issues like sinus infections or ear aches.

Some researchers have questioned the claims, however, with a 2016 study suggesting the clinics actually can contribute to overall spending by making it easier for people to obtain services.

The new clinics announced this week will be called “Target Clinic, care provided by Kaiser Permanente,” and offer care to the health insurance company’s members as well as self-pay consumers and those with other types of insurance. Nurse practitioners and licensed nurses will provide care in the clinics for things like basic dermatology, pediatric care and vaccinations, with physicians available via “telemedicine” for consultations.

Most retail clinics in Target stores operate under the MinuteClinic brand.

“CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic are pleased to play a role in this unique health care relationship,” said Sharon Vitti, senior vice president and executive director of MinuteClinic, in a statement.

Target and Kaiser said they will open four additional clinics this November, with additional clinics set to open over the next three years.

 

Twitter: @chrissnowbeck