Industry Category

U.S. emergency rooms saw more patients than ever in 2014, but that doesn’t necessarily mean urgent care isn’t getting its message out. New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal that over 141 million people ran to the ED that year (compared with 130 million the previous year), but some top reasons tended to be complaints for which it would not be appropriate to visit an urgent care center—chest pain chief among them. In addition, mental health problems and opiate overdoses reporting to the ED are onRead More
Urgent care has made its mark by delivering good care to people on a walk-in basis. Those patients with sore throats, lacerations, and other complaints could have chosen to be treated in a primary care office, but realized their symptoms were such that waiting a few days was a miserable (or possibly dangerous) proposition. Some patients with mental health complaints find themselves in the same position—or worse, considering they might not already be aligned with a mental health professional. A new urgent care center in Durham, NC has taken noticeRead More
Nonbiased parties outside of the urgent care arena are picking up on the idea that many people who visit the emergency room don’t really need to be there—and there are more data demonstrating that all the time. Most recently, the International Journal for Quality in Health Care published research stating that 3.3% of ED visits are “avoidable” altogether.  The data reflect more than 424 million ED visits by patients between 18 and 64 years of age, from 2005 to 2011. From an urgent care perspective, it’s likely the real percentageRead More
A new study by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association indicates that efforts to curb inappropriate antibiotics prescribing are working. The project considered 173 million claims reflecting the care of subscribers <65 years of age who filled antibiotic prescriptions between 2010 and 2016, finding that prescriptions for antibiotics fell 22% for infants, 16% for children, and 6% for adults during that time frame. Patients in the South and Appalachia were more likely to fill prescriptions for antibiotics than those in New England and the West Coast region. Broad-spectrum antibiotics coveringRead More
The need to reduce access to opioid pain medications is pretty well accepted at this point, though much of the outcry is vague and often geared toward echoing statistics about the very real epidemic of addiction and death. However, Intermountain Health, which operates InstaCare urgent care centers in Utah and Idaho, has gone a step further by crunching its own numbers and devising a plan to cut opioid prescriptions across its systems by 40% by the end of 2018. According to an article published in The Salt Lake Tribune inRead More
Lax record keeping, the transient nature of online identities, and continually changing mobile phone numbers make it hard enough to keep tab on “who’s who” in your patient records. Add common names to the mix and it’s easy to see how patient identity could be hard to keep straight—the consequences of which could be severe in terms of patient safety and your adherence to confidentiality laws. New Jersey thinks one solution would be Master Person Index (MPI), which would in effect view individual bits of medical information as pieces ofRead More

Posted On August 25, 2017By JUCMIn Industry

UCAOA Files Comments on Medicare QPP

The Urgent Care Association of America vowed to represent the industry’s interests when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its final rule implementing the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) last October. In effect, CMS imposed guidelines for clinicians participating in Medicare’s Quality Payment Program (QPP), and defined two possible pathways: the Merit-Based Payment Incentive Program (MIPS) or the Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs). UCAOA made good on its promise this week by officially submitting comments to CMS on proposed 2018 updates to the QPP. UCAOARead More
Hospitals and health systems have been taking a hard look at how they can maintain financial stability in recent years. As you’ve read here, many are venturing into urgent care, both on and off campus. Now, some are taking another step toward becoming everyday community health providers by offering, essentially, primary care in their emergency rooms. An article in Modern Healthcare details how one of them, Carolinas Healthcare System, realized the same old way of conducting hospital business was unsustainable. The answer, they hope, would be taking a broader lookRead More
Health system administrators and fans of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or “Obamacare”) have been lauding the fact that employment in the healthcare industry has been climbing since the ACA was implemented. While that may be factually correct in terms of overall numbers, it is also true that health systems have been cutting jobs strategically in order to cut payroll expenses. Not too long ago, Becker’s Hospital Review identified 48 layoffs that have taken place around the country, owing to declining reimbursements, lower admissions, and subsequent diminishing revenue. The uncertainRead More
Medicaid recipients who go to Tennessee emergency rooms with nonemergent complaints cost the state nearly $85 million a year, according to a report published online by WATE television in Knoxville. The data show federally and state-funded nonemergent ED visits drove up costs 25% in 2016 compared with the previous year. Some of the most common complaints that could have been treated in a lower-acuity (and less costly) setting like urgent care included acute upper respiratory infection (24,257 claims at a cost of $2.9 million); acute pharyngitis, unspecified (15,880 claims, $1.7Read More