Rural areas of the United States have generally been underserved when it comes to healthcare for a long time. Many patients have to travel for hours to get reasonable access to much-needed care. That inconvenience has been exacerbated—badly—by the latest surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, according to an article newly published by The Wall Street Journal. The story notes situations in which patients are turned away or told to “come back in a couple of days” after driving more than a hundred miles. One key challenge, as it is in more densely populated or urban areas, is short staffing. A dearth of clinical staff makes it impossible for urgent care centers and other facilities to see everyone who needs care. And if one or two providers or support staff test positive for the virus the whole clinic may have to shut down. The other option taken by some, according to the WSJ article, is to allow workers who’ve tested positive to show up for work as long as they remain asymptomatic. It all leaves a lot of people eager for care they’re not receiving at this time. JUCM has been keeping an eye on the prospects for urgent care success in less-populated areas for years. For insights, read Rural and Tertiary Markets: The Next Urgent Care Frontier right now.

Already-Underserved Rural Areas Are Getting Pummeled by COVID-19. Can Urgent Care Step In?