A pair of not-for-profit consumer advocacy groups have renewed calls for the urgent care industry to be more regulated by the government, claiming that urgent care centers and retail clinics simply are not affordable for low-income patients, according to an article recently published by Modern Healthcare. The issue could be resolved, they say, if the government required these facilities to provide care for patients covered by Medicaid. As urgent care veterans know, the problem here is not one of disinterest but of economics; reimbursement would have to be sufficient in order for urgent care operators to meet expenses associated with providing care under Medicaid. As always, a key issue in trying to “regulate” the urgent care industry is the fact that urgent care practices are already (heavily) regulated by virtue of physician licenses and standards imposed through a veritable alphabet soup of federal regulations and programs (eg, HIPAA, ADA, OSHA…). Community Catalyst and the National Health Law Program would like to see state legislatures have more oversight into urgent care, reasoning that it’s the states that issue licenses for medical facilities, according to the Modern Healthcare article. They go as far as to insist that states force urgent care centers to accept uninsured patients and those with Medicaid, and to require that such patients make up a certain percentage of their business.
Calls for Greater Regulation of Urgent Care Resurface