Industry Category

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
Urgent care and hospital operator Sutter Health is diversifying its efforts to reach patients in multiple settings by opening its own retail-style walk-in clinics in the Sacramento, CA area. Sutter already operated a few retail clinics housed in Rite Aid stores, along with dozens of urgent care centers. Now they’ve opened three such locations of their own in neighborhood shopping centers, with plans to open nine more in the San Francisco Bay area this summer. The company says it’s a response to customers who’ve expressed a need for more healthcareRead More
A telemedicine ambulance triage system is helping to keep nonemergent cases out of the emergency room in Houston—perhaps indicating one more way urgent care could contribute to improving access to affordable, quality care for patients with non–life-threatening concerns. A briefing on Advisory Board notes that the city’s ED wait times were among the worst in the country 10 years ago, thanks to up to 50% of patients, in effect, seeking primary care in their local ED. However, a telemedicine system for ambulance-based triage has helped keep people who don’t needRead More
New data suggest that efforts to educate patients on when it’s appropriate to go to an urgent care center vs the emergency room need to continue, if not increase. Basically, the survey from CityMD shows too many are not selecting the appropriate setting for immediate care. More than 2,000 Americans 18 and older were asked which setting would be most appropriate for immediate care in eight separate scenarios, from having a child with a 104⁰ temperature accompanied by coughing and shivering, to a deep laceration (among others). Respondents who incorrectlyRead More
The Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA) has petitioned Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, MD to delay implementation of Stage 3 of the Meaningful Use program, as well as “Stage 3-like” measures in the MIPS program, indefinitely. UCAOA joined with 15 other organizations in crafting a letter that also requested that eligible clinicians not be required to move to EHR technology certified to the 2015 edition. Release of proposed requirements for MIPS and APMs for the 2018 performance year is expected before June.Read More
A new Cochrane Database review finds that while there’s a lot of chatter about the success of retail clinics, hard data on their effectiveness has yet to materialize. Chen et al, searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, and six other databases, as well as two trial registers, and conducted reference checking and citations searching, looking for any trials and controlled before–after studies. While they acknowledge “retail clinics have become popular alternatives to traditional physician offices and emergency rooms for people with low-acuity illnesses,” they found no data that assess the quality ofRead More

Posted On February 17, 2017By JUCMIn Industry

Health Spending Predictions Favor Urgent Care

The next decade will see national health expenditures grow 5.6% annually, according to projections from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), ensuring that the need for cost-effective, high-quality care will continue to grow as well. If CMS’s Office of the Actuary is correct in its estimate, the jump in healthcare spending will outpace projected growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 1.2%. The portion of the GDP consumed by healthcare spending is expected to grow to 19.9% by 2025. The data assume that the proportion of theRead More