JUCM (both the journal and in this newsletter) is full of information and news about current trends in urgent care acquisitions and mergers. The Urgent Care Association’s newsletter is, too, and if you attended the recent UCA convention you heard plenty about how health systems are buying up small, and even not-so-small, urgent care operations. Some perceive that big health systems are gobbling up urgent care centers as an investment or in the spirit of, If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. A recent post on the website ROI-NJ paints a different picture, though. Take insights gleaned from an Atlantic Health official in the article, for example. The company paired up with MedExpress nearly a year ago; together they now own 11 urgent care centers in northern New Jersey. Atlantic looked at the move as “an intermediary step” toward being able to provide “around-the-clock” accessibility for patients outside the confines of emergency rooms—in effect, integrating urgent care locations into its network of multiple-setting sites (which also includes primary care and specialty practices). Yes, as you’ve read here, they’re taking advantage of emerging patient preferences for immediate care without a traditional primary care provider relationship in an effort to keep more patients in-house. But in a broader context, the article gives one the sense that health systems are looking at the services they offer as a jigsaw puzzle. Where a piece is missing, they look for another one that fits. One gaping space was in the form of patients needing to see a provider at 7:30 on a Thursday evening, for example, so they’re picking up urgent care centers to complete the big picture. While not earth-shaking news, these insights could be helpful in understanding urgent care’s value from the health system side—and in exploring opportunities to extend your reach, as well.
A Peek Inside Urgent Care Acquisitions—from the Hospital Side