Industry Category

Urgent care operator American Family Care (AFC) has inked an investment deal worth $1 billion with the private equity and real estate firm American Development Partners. The funds will be put to work expanding AFC’s presence around the country, with the expectation that 300 more franchises will open under the AFC banner (currently, there are 170). AFC is quick to note that the company will not change hands, and that it will continue to invest its own resources in developing franchises and wholly owned clinics. American Development Partners’ role willRead More
We all know emergency room waiting areas are choked with patients who could be treated just as well—and in less time for less money—in an urgent care center. That makes it all the more difficult for patients who really need to be there to be seen in a reasonable amount of time. Now Thomas Health System in Charleston, WV, thinks it has found a way to make people think twice about heading to the ED without even considering other venues: If you show up and don’t have a presenting complaintRead More
We told you recently that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services lowered the threshold for physicians to be exempt from MACRA’s reporting requirements in 2018. It’s a good thing, too: 75% of physicians involved in practice decision-making say they do not feel well prepared to participate in MACRA’s Quality Payment Program (QPP). The data were just released by the American Medical Association and KPMG. The QPP pushes eligible providers to choose between the Advanced Alternative Payment Model (APM) track, for clinicians who take on a significant portfolio of “Advanced APMs,” andRead More
In Texas, Progress Toward Prohibiting ‘Surprise Billing’ by Freestanding ERs
Protecting patients against the suspect billing practices—especially “surprise billing”—of freestanding emergency rooms seems to be a high priority in the Texas legislature. Most recently, a bill that offers patients more ways to contest bills was signed into law; Senate Bill 507 expands the use of mediation to contest surprise medical bills. This problem is perceived as especially great in Texas, which is home to more than half of the freestanding ERs in the country. Further, nearly 70% of out-of-network emergency claims in Texas occur at freestanding ERs. Another new law,Read More
CMS May Have Overpaid $729 Million in Incentives—Now They Want It Back
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) may have doled out more than $729 million in incentive payments for use of electronic health record systems that didn’t actually comply with federal standards, according to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at Health and Human Services. The OIG has already uncovered instances where providers who received payments could not document that they were using electronic health records in “meaningful” ways—a key requirement to reap incentives. Now the OIG wants CMS to conduct a review to figure out if providersRead More

Posted On June 27, 2017By JUCMIn Industry

UCAOA Takes to Capitol Hill

A contingent from the Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA) descended on Congressional offices to school lawmakers and their staffs on the important role urgent care plays in the healthcare continuum. Coinciding with the UCAOA Urgent Care Convention & Expo at nearby National Harbor, the visit put 15 UCAOA representatives face-to-face with 75 congressional staffers, including those who work on committees with jurisdiction over Medicaid and veteran’s healthcare. In addition to giving lawmakers a better idea of how urgent care centers operate, the UCAOA members sought support for upcoming legislativeRead More
There are more physician-employees than physician-owners across the practice landscape, according to new data from the American Medical Association—the first time under 50% of patient care physicians have an ownership stake in their medical practice since the AMA started keeping track. While the data do not reflect urgent care specifically (including this market as “other”), they do show the share of physicians with ownership stake in a medical practice fell to 47% in 2016. That’s 6% lower than in 2012, the last time the survey was conducted. Surgical subspecialties hadRead More
It’s tough out there for retailers—which means it’s at least as tough for the building managers and owners that do business with them. While urgent care centers used to be considered a “bad fit” (along with all medical facilities), they’re now becoming the darlings of retail space developers. National UC Realty puts the number of active urgent care locations at 9,600 and climbing, making the industry a presence that cannot be ignored on the real estate front. Connecticut’s Hartford HealthCare is a prime example, as it has spent millions toRead More
Direct primary care—in which practices bill patients recurring fees (often monthly) that cover many services without additional charges—is faltering, with the closure of two pioneers of the model recently. Qliance Medical Management and Turntable Health have both decided to close up shop, citing difficulties in securing funding to update services (eg, by offering a more urgent care-like level of care) and invest in technologies that would facilitate virtual care. Nonetheless, direct primary care continues to be a tempting proposition for many clinicians. Those who are drawn to it say itRead More
Some urgent care providers have expressed concern that they could be the next subjects of Department of Justice scrutiny in the wake of eClinicalWorks agreement to settle federal charges. Those fears stem from the idea that incentive payments they received from eClinicalWorks could be viewed as ill-gotten gains. (As we told you just days ago, the company had been sued over charges it falsely certified that its EHR met all government criteria and that it failed to adequately test its software before release; to adequately debug systems in a reasonableRead More