News Category

It hasn’t been 2 weeks since the first of two healthcare megadeals was announced (CVS buying Aetna, followed closely by UnitedHealth Group announcing it was going to buy DaVita’s medical group), but they’re already being cited as the reason for consolidation in the hospital marketplace. Dignity Health in California and Colorado’s Catholic Health Initiative are expected to team up in a move that would have the combined system controlling some 700 care cites and 139 hospitals. In addition, Advocate Health Care in Chicago and Aurora Health Care (Milwaukee) are workingRead More
Emergency department spending jumped 85% over a 7-year period ending in 2015, according to new research by the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI), even though ED use remained relatively stable. The reason for the increase in spending, according to the report, is that hospitals coded and charged more for high-severity cases during that timeframe. Drawing on charges associated with more than 70 million ED bills, HCCI found that visits billed to CPT codes 99285 and 99284 increased >100% during the study period. Conversely, visits were charged to lower-severity codes (whichRead More
Whether web-, cloud-, or app-based, the virtual care market is expected to continue growing as technologies and business models keep evolving through at least 2027, according to a report form Persistence Market Research (PMR). Video applications (ie, via laptop, tablet, smartphones, and desktops) are expected to be more popular and prevalent than straight telephone communication or kiosks at employer sites, pharmacies, and hospitals. The shortage in primary care providers will also ensure that need grows along with the capabilities, according to the report. At the same time, healthcare organizations areRead More
We told you in October that Walgreens was going to start offering services more aligned with urgent care than with traditional retail health services in Las Vegas. Now the pharmacy giant has announced broader plans in the urgent care sector: In addition to expanding those Las Vegas sites, they’re making similar moves in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota. In each instance, they’ll be partnering with MedExpress (whose parent company, UnitedHealthCare, just announced plans to buy HealthCare Partners). Walgreens already boasts 11 urgent care centers in West Virginia, Virginia, Nebraska, andRead More
The line between payers and providers bent even further this week, as UnitedHealth Group Inc. announced plans to buy HealthCare Partners from DaVita Inc. It’s the second major acquisition of its kind for UHC this year; the company paid $2.3 billion for Surgical Care Affiliates just last March. The latest proposed deal came to light just days after CVS Health said it’s buying Aetna. It’s all part of a strategy for health insurers to lower medical costs by taking on more responsibility for healthcare decision making, but also trying toRead More
Apparently recognizing that the general public has become aware of the life-threatening dangers of opioid pain medications, WVU Urgent Care has taken the initiative to promote its non–opioid philosophy for pain management. In an article posted their website, they take a stab at educating patients on other options that may be appropriate to help diminish pain, depending on the patient’s condition and needs. In that article, WVU Urgent Care physician Saira George, MD explains that the general goal is to try to control pain while the body does its own healing.Read More
It’s not an oversimplification to say that the difficult thing about providing care for truckers is that they’re not in the same place for long. What’s worse, there are certain occupational hazards that make access to care especially important. According to UrgentCareTravel (UCT), 80% of the 3.8 million professional truck drivers in the U.S. are obese; half live with untreated sleep apnea; and 65% don’t have a primary care physician. So, UCT is partnering with the Pilot Flying J Travel Centers to provide occupational medicine and urgent care services whileRead More
If CVS’s $69 billion deal to buy Aetna goes through, one of the first things the company is expected to do is broadly expand its retail health clinic business—ultimately saving the company more than $1 billion annually, according to a report from Reuters. The presumed savings would flow out of efforts to improve access to preventative care through the CVS clinics. CVS has roughly 9,700 drugstores (though only a thousand or so have clinics), while Aetna provides medical coverage for some 23 million people. For its part, the insurer wouldRead More
Many urgent care operators promote their clinics on the basis that they’re entrenched in the heart of the community. This is the season to prove it. Lansing (MI) Urgent Care is already doing that by supporting the Greater Lansing Food Bank’s efforts to raise money and collect food and in-kind contributions for area residents in need as winter takes hold. In New Jersey, IMA Urgent Care Centers is collecting new, unused toys for the Toys for Tots program this month. For the second year, all three IMA locations have collectionRead More
It’s relatively early in the season, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that influenza activity is already rising—and several markers are higher than normally seen this early. Four children have already died this season, and four of the CDC’s 10 regions are at or above their regional baselines. Another bad sign: Australia, whose data are often a predictor of flu severity in the U.S., just completed its worst flu season on record. So far, influenza A has accounted for 83.4% of positive flu specimens. This information isRead More