Business Category

UnitedHealth Group thought it was a great idea at the time: offer no-cost primary and behavioral care, in the hope that the company would bring in enough money through claims, while also building a loyal customer base. Detractors may say it was a nonstarter, or that the notion had merit but was poorly designed; some may even point the finger at the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare). Either way, the company is shutting down Harken Health, the subsidiary under which it ran the program, after a little over aRead More
While it may take patients a little time to get used to the idea, prepayment and credit card holds are becoming more and common among urgent care operators who are tired of chasing down payment from patients who’ve already received care—or having to write off charges altogether. Revenue cycle management leaders like Practice Velocity actively promote the concept to their partners. As with anything new (especially anything new involving money), some patients object to the request. However, the ongoing rise in deductibles is pushing the industry to take measures toRead More
Different markets have different standards of living—and compensation. So, it’s important to get a sense early on whether what you’re willing to pay aligns well with qualified job seekers. That’s going to be a lot tougher if an emerging trend continues to grow, however. Some cities and states are forbidding interviewers from asking candidates about their current, or most recent, salary. Legislation to that effect was just passed in Philadelphia, though the city will delay enforcing the new law until a federal judge weighs in on a petition to blockRead More
Some of the masterminds behind Uber, Trulia, and OpenTable have set their sights on the urgent care marketplace—not to start operating clinics, but by facilitating patient visits. Solv launched recently with an aim to make “booking” urgent care time in a way similar to how diners use OpenTable to book tables in a restaurant. The company, led by former Trulia executives Heather Mirjahangir Fernandez and Daniele Farnedi, got $6.25 million in funding from Benchmark Capital, which is led by Uber and OpenTable investor Bill Gurley. Solv works by allowing onlineRead More
Large healthcare organizations may have advantages when it comes to negotiating acquisitions of smaller urgent care centers, but with the right approach smaller operators can narrow the gap and do quite well for themselves. That’s the key message an article published in Becker’s Hospital Review. Quoting an expert from a mergers-and-acquisitions (M&A) advisory firm, the article offers the following five steps urgent care centers can take when negotiating: Make time for preparation.That means fully evaluating the state of your business—eg, profitability and staff continuity; having relevant financial documents at yourRead More
Urban—or in this case, rural—development can reinvigorate dormant local economies and bring hope to depressed communities. The associated investment can also be a source of funds for new or expanding urgent care businesses, if operators pick their spots judiciously. Urgent Care of Mountain View-Newton (North Carolina) is the beneficiary of a $70,000 grant from the state Rural Infrastructure Authority that will go toward renovating a Catawba County building that’s been vacant for 2 years, with the urgent care center expecting to take occupancy in the fall of this year. TheRead More
Offering annual “memberships” to your urgent care center can be a good move to build customer loyalty, but also to encourage patients to seek care then they need it. FastMed Urgent Care, for one, has a program wherein patients pay $35 a year to receive a $35 discount for each subsequent self-pay visit. The plan also covers spouses and children under 18 who live in the same household and provides a prescription discount card where permitted. Obviously, the plan brings in revenue with each sale, but it also gives patientsRead More
Last month we told you the day after Thanksgiving is the second busiest day of the year for urgent care centers—with December 26 being the busiest. Some of that volume is due to patients who assumed they either had to head to the emergency room or wait a day or more to get care. If your urgent care center is going to be open Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day, the time to let your communities know is now. Update your website or Facebook page accordingly, tweet your followers, andRead More
A swell of evidence shows more and more that the way patients make choices about healthcare—and even access care—is changing constantly. About 5% of Google searches are for a health-related topic these days, and a Pew Research Center study found 62% of patients have used their smartphones to look up health-related information. And the Mayo Clinic estimates that 84% of patients want to partner with their physicians in making treatment decisions. In other words, patients feel they are better informed, and want to use that sense of confidence in guidingRead More
A new U.S. Department of Labor rule that would have led to an enormous leap in the number of workers eligible for overtime pay in the United States has been stopped—at least for the time being—by an injunction issued in federal court. Currently, employees who make less than $23,660 annually get time-and-a-half pay if they work more than 40 hours in a week; the new standard would more than double the threshold, to $47,476. That would make millions more workers eligible for overtime pay. Employers, including urgent care centers employingRead More