News Category

We’ve told you recently about plans some insurers have to stick patients with the bill for emergency room visits that are retrospectively determined to have been nonemergent in nature. In essence, if patients go to the ED with an illness or injury that could have been handled in a lower-acuity setting (such as an urgent care center), as determined by the insurer, the patient’s claim will be denied. Now the American Medical Association is demanding that Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, for one, rescind that policy immediately in states whereRead More
A situation brewing in Nebraska should serve as a cautionary tale for ensuring patients are safe at all times—and minimizing liability risk for all urgent care operators. A physician in Lincoln, NE has been accused of carrying out unnecessary, invasive physical exams of a female recruit to the Nebraska State Patrol. A state senator there plans to submit a formal complaint to state regulators and medical associations against the provider, after a female trooper filed a lawsuit against that doctor and against the State Patrol. The prospective trooper says theRead More
Citizens from coast to coast will have a rare opportunity to witness a total solar eclipse on August 21. States directly in its 70-mile-wide path—Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina—are bracing for a massive influx of sky watchers intent on witnessing the phenomenon. Urgent care centers are shoring up their staffing in response. For example, Oregon’s St. Charles Health System is bringing in extra staff from other regions it serves and turning its primary care locations into urgent care centers betweenRead More
Urgent care operators have been making a splash by revamping existing retail spaces and restaurants into urgent care centers. Now hospital systems seeking to make inroads in the industry are doing the same. Around Indiana, for example, Indiana University Health is opening up centers in old bank branches; Community Health Network is setting up shop in a strip mall; and Franciscan ExpressCare is actually clearing some space for a clinic in an apartment-and-retail complex, hoping to get the attention of residents, shoppers, and employees alike. As with the standalone centersRead More
The case of Texas newlyweds whom a court ordered to pay a photographer $1 million after engaging in a social media smear campaign has gotten a lot of attention. The headlines will fade, but the decision could give all businesses—including urgent care centers—cause to take another look at their options if they feel they’ve been wrongfully defamed online. In the Texas case, a newly married couple claimed the photographer was holding their wedding album “hostage” over what they saw as a surprise $125 fee for an album cover. The photographerRead More
Cases of Cyclospora cayetanensis infections have more than doubled in 2017 compared with the same period in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cases are not geographically centered, either: 27 states have confirmed the diagnosis, which is marked by watery diarrhea, anorexia, fatigue, weight loss, nausea, flatulence, abdominal cramping, and myalgia. Cyclospora infection can spread via food or water contaminated with the parasite; however, it is not transmitted directly from one person to another. A total of 206 cases of Cyclospora infections have been reported toRead More
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2017 report Antibiotic Use in the United States: Progress and Opportunities embraces urgent care as an active participant in both healthcare delivery and antibiotic stewardship more than ever before. The CDC notes that urgent care has experienced “tremendous growth” and that continuing to incorporate antibiotic stewardship as a core value “will be an important factor in optimizing antibiotic use.” To support those efforts, the CDC put together The Core Elements of Antibiotic Stewardship in Outpatient Settings last year, while also partnering with largeRead More
Patients who seek care for sunburn in emergency rooms and urgent care centers often have complicating concerns—some of which have little directly to do with the sunburn, according to a new report published in JAMA Dermatology. Psychiatric illness (9.3% of cases), alcohol use (6.4%), and homelessness (6.4%) were among the more common, according to researchers from Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and associated urgent care clinics. More closely linked with sunburn were blistering (37.3%), constitutional symptoms (18.6%), and secondary infections (1%). Regardless of any coexisting symptoms, NSAIDs, acetaminophenRead More
Eight people have died from hepatitis A as the number of confirmed cases continues to climb in San Diego County, CA. So far, the virus has infected 275 people; 194 of them have been hospitalized. Public health officials have responded with vaccination clinics, by distributing sanitation supplies, and by stepping up awareness and education (eg, explaining that hep A is spread by sharing food or drugs, through unprotected sex, and by failing to practice good hygiene in general). The first case was reported in November; since then, six out ofRead More
Though the rate of prescriptions for opioids has fallen over the past 7 years, more than one third of all adults in the U.S. were prescribed a narcotic pain medication in 2015. Worse, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), around 5% of the population is misusing opioids—eg, by not following directions or taking them without a prescription at all (having received them from family or friends in 41% of those cases). Around 1.9 million Americans are thought to have an opioid use disorder. Purely recreational use hasRead More