News Category

UnitedHealthcare (UHC) just launched a new protocol for evaluating emergency room claims that it says will encourage accurate coding by providers and ultimately bring down healthcare costs. Some hospitals view it as just another way to deny claims, however—and one that could actually end up costing patients more money, at that. Under the policy that took effect on March 1, UHC reviews and maintains the right to adjust or deny claims for ED visits coded at Level 4 or Level 5 for patients covered through United’s commercial and Medicare AdvantageRead More
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Posted On March 16, 2018By Brandon NapolitanoIn Events, News

UCAOA Webinar: Setting Up Lab Services? Attend this Webinar

Offering lab testing on site in your urgent care location can be a great convenience for patients and a boon for business—as long as you know what you’re getting into. The Urgent Care Association of America will offer some insights in a webinar led by CLIA expert Milly Keeler, BSMT, CLC, CCCP on Thursday, April 5 at 1 pm, Central. She’ll share her vast knowledge of regulatory requirements concerning laboratory testing, as well as CLIA requirements for waived laboratory testing and sound laboratory practices overall. Cost to attend Best PracticeRead More
Signs and symbols of opioid abuse.
Efforts to reduce access to opioid medications for acute pain have varied greatly from state to state, in spite of President Trump’s declaration that related addiction and deaths constitute a public health emergency. Now, a bipartisan bill just introduced in Congress would impose a national policy if it passes, restricting prescriptions for opioids for acute pain to 3 days (ample for the urgent care setting). Significantly, the bill would also authorize adding $1 billion to subsidies for the addiction treatment industry. The CARA 2.0 Act is sponsored by four RepublicansRead More
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Physicians have a natural inclination to help others; that’s why most chose medicine as a career, after all. Even with a full-time workload, some find they still want more time to share their expertise for the benefit of patients in need of care. Lynette Morrison, MD is one of them. The MedExpress Urgent Care provider has made six trips to treat patients around the world with a “medical mission” organization called  International Medical Relief (IMR). Her first trip, in 2011 while she was still in residency, took her to Ghana.Read More
Many directions arrow road sign

Posted On March 13, 2018By Brandon NapolitanoIn News, Practice

Why Signage and Coding Matter—to Patients

A couple visiting Duluth, MN over the holidays needed to get their baby to a doctor on New Year’s Day. Being from Portland, OR they didn’t have a provider in town. So, they checked out reviews of local providers on Yelp and decided the urgent care center at nearby St. Luke’s hospital would be a good choice. It was the right call, as they got their baby in to see a friendly, efficient doctor in a reasonable amount of time. Their positive experience jumped the tracks when they were handedRead More

Posted On March 13, 2018By Brandon NapolitanoIn Clinical, News

Ask Patients in Pain About Ibuprofen Use

New data published in Pharmacoepidemiology & Drug Safety remind us about the dangers of pain medications—not opioids this time, but over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen. After acetaminophen, it’s the second-most used drug in the U.S., and the most commonly used nonaspirin NSAID. Many patients are using excessive dosages, however, putting themselves at risk for dose-related side effects (eg, upper gastrointestinal bleeding and acute renal injury) that can be quite severe or even fatal. The P&DS research reflects the medication diaries of 1,326 people, 15% of whom exceed the maximum recommended dailyRead More
Over 1.8 million emergency room visits related to a diagnosis of eczema took place between 2006 and 2012, costing patients hours of waiting and their insurance providers millions of dollars. What’s more, the trend indicates the number will continue to rise. The question is, why? The likely answer—besides the fact that it takes forever to secure an appointment with a dermatologist—is that too many people are unfamiliar with the full capabilities of their closest urgent care center. Laura Kwa, BA and Jonathan I. Silverberg, MD, PhD, MPH of the FeinbergRead More
After too many mass murders involving guns in the U.S., more than 1,000 physicians have signed a pledge published in the Annals of Internal Medicine to proactively raise the issue of firearms safety with patients. Annals moved to offer the pledge in light of evidence that many people killed by guns (including suicides) were in contact with their healthcare provider shortly before their deaths. Ironically, the idea of publishing the pledge was raised well before the most recent carnage at a Florida high school; it was first discussed internally afterRead More
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It’s too late to be truly unprecedented, but Cigna’s announcement that it plans to buy Express Scripts, the largest pharmacy benefit management company in the U.S., signals that lines between “traditional” segments of the healthcare industry will continue to be breached for the foreseeable future. Once the deal is done, the combined company will reside in Cigna’s Connecticut headquarters, headed by Cigna CEO David Cordani. The Express Scripts unit will still be based in St. Louis and continue to be run by current Express Scripts CEO Tim Wentworth, who willRead More
Vermont is looking at changing how it classifies urgent care centers, with an eye toward forcing operators to file a certificate of need (CON) before starting construction projects. Right now, independent Vermont urgent care centers are viewed as physician offices, which are exempt from filing a CON. The state’s Office of the Health Care Advocate says it would be more correct to view them as “medical facilities,” which would trigger the need for them to apply for CONs, as hospitals already do. Rep. Bill Lippert, who supports the bill, claimsRead More