Industry Category

Hospital operators like Mission Health System in North Carolina and Rush University Medical Center are trying a new approach to draw in patients off the street: offering urgent care at primary care prices. It seems to be working, too, as visits to other urgent care centers are down in the Asheville, NC area since Mission made their move. Mission My Care Now has opened four primary care locations that are open to walk-in patients beyond “normal” business hours, just like an urgent care center. The difference—a big one for patients,Read More
Upheavals among payers, an unsure future for a national health plan, and evolving payment models have not dampened physicians’ enthusiasm for what they do for a living—in fact, most are happier than ever with their choice of profession, and are making more money at the same time, according the 2017 Medscape Physician Compensation Report. The data put average physician compensation at $294,000 annually, taking into account both the full array of specialties and primary care. Except for oncologists and cardiologists, which remained even compared with the last survey period, andRead More
Seven health systems—including more than one with a stake in the urgent care marketplace—are among the World’s Most Ethical Companies, according to a new listing from the Ethisphere Institute. Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), Baptist Health South Florida, Cleveland Clinic, Covenant Health, Northwell Health, Sharp HealthCare, and University Hospitals were all recognized for their ethics and compliance programs; corporate citizenship and responsibility; creating a culture of ethics; governance; and their leadership, innovation, and reputation. More than just committed to doing business ethically, each of the honorees have responded to aRead More
Urgent care centers are staffed by more than just highly qualified physicians. Other clinicians—nurse practitioners and physician assistants among them—contribute to the success of a practice and have ongoing educational needs, too. Recognizing that, the Urgent Care College of Physicians (UCCOP) has been renamed the College of Urgent Care Medicine (CUCM). Sean McNeeley, MD, president of the College and a regular contributor to JUCM, revealed the change in a new monthly newsletter called Urgent Caring. The first two issues are available free of charge, but after that they will be consideredRead More
Despite a growing stack of negative press clippings and legislative scrutiny, freestanding emergency rooms continue to take in patients off the street and charge them far more than they’d pay for the same services at urgent care centers. New data from four institutions in Texas reveal that mean out-of-pocket spending jumped 66% between 2012 and 2015 in the Lone Star State. Out-of-pocket costs grew by 38.5% at hospital-based EDs and by just 8.9% at urgent care centers over the same period. The study, published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine,Read More
By 2030, there will be a significant gap between the number of physicians who are practicing in the U.S. and the number needed to care for our aging population, according to new data from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). At best, it would amount to a shortfall of 40,800 providers—at worst, 104,900, the association says. For primary care, the estimated shortage will be between 8,700 and 43,100 physicians by 2030. Emergency medicine, anesthesiology, radiology, neurology, and psychiatry, among others will likely see a shortage of between 18,600 andRead More
Freestanding emergency rooms have been roundly criticized for their billing practices, most often as a result of “surprise bills” that patients don’t feel they should have to pay and insurers absolutely refuse to consider. In addition to angering patients and inspiring legislators to draft new consumer-protection laws, though, many freestanding ER companies are having a tough time getting paid at all. Adeptus, considered the leading provider in the industry, has been especially hard hit. Its stock price has tumbled from over $120 a share to just $2.50. Analysts say it’sRead More
Telemedicine has been shown to provide valuable access for patients who otherwise might not be able to see a physician in person. Unfortunately, not all patients have gotten the message that it’s best used as an alternative to heading to the doctor’s office; instead, they follow a virtual visit with a face-to-face encounter, thereby costing themselves and/or their insurers money unnecessarily. When RAND crunched data on CalPERS Blue Shield members who used Teledoc virtual visit services for symptoms of bronchitis, it found that <12% of patients stayed away from theRead More
Code 3 is gambling that opening a pair of acute care facilities at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)—an urgent care center and a separate freestanding emergency room—will help profits soar. However, some industry experts are skeptical that the airport has the right stuff. Code 3 says the clinic should open in August, while the goal for the ED is to open by the end of the year. While urgent care centers in airport locations are becoming more common, this would be the first emergency facility in a U.S. airport. CodeRead More
Typically, going to the emergency room costs a lot more than a trip to an urgent care center for the same complaint. You’d think insurers would be invested in getting their plan members to recognize the difference and make informed decisions accordingly. The chief medical officer of Innovation Health agrees, and revealed a “decision tree” to help patients choose wisely—and economically. Sunil Budhrani, MD, an emergency room doctor for close to 20 years who went on to found a telemedicine company before joining Innovation, says urgent care centers are simplyRead More