Practice Management Category

Q: Should patient accounts ever get turned over to a collection agency? A: The altruistic nature of running an urgent care center—to serve the public—can make it difficult to send patient accounts to collection, but it must be done if you want your center to survive. Some urgent care centers choose to leave patient balances in their billing systems indefinitely, but this puts a serious burden on the business by creating additional statement costs, wreaking havoc on financial reports, and inflating a center’s days in A/R. It also damages anRead More
Christina Gardner, DHSc, MBA, PA-C; Alexandra Nassif, PA-C; Connie Brooks, MSN-FNP; and Kim Roe, MBA, RRT  Urgent message: Postgraduate fellowship programs are essential to the development of highly trained providers who can support the ongoing growth of the urgent care marketplace in the midst of a national physician shortage. However, historically there have been view available to nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Introduction A 2017 report of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), predicted a shortage of 40,800 to 104,900 physicians by 2030.1 One of the best methods toRead More
Misunderstanding Occupational Medicine Services ‘Protocols’  Alan A. Ayers, MBA, MAcc is Chief Executive Officer of Velocity Urgent Care and is Practice Management Editor of The Journal of Urgent Care Medicine.  Urgent message: Urgent care owners should be aware of the misuse of the term “protocol” and the scope of employers’ directions concerning the processing of employees in their centers. In addition, urgent care owners need to be diligent when they believe that one of their clients is attempting to override the course of medical treatment for an employee.  The disciplineRead More
We all know urgent care has been growing steadily, nearly since its inception. Hard data on the size of the marketplace can be hard to come by, though, as different sources apply varying definitions of what exactly constitutes an urgent care center. Similarly, we know proper utilization of urgent care services has tremendous potential to lower healthcare costs compared with visits to the emergency room. Again, though, the details can be hard to put a proverbial finger on in the Big Data picture. CBInsights tries to shed some light onRead More
Urgent message: As a retail delivery channel for healthcare, success in urgent care depends on successfully executing the “retail” elements of the urgent care delivery model—the first of which is “location.”  Alan A. Ayers, MBA, MAcc is Chief Executive Officer of Velocity Urgent Care and is Practice Management Editor of The Journal of Urgent Care Medicine. Urgent care differs from other types of medicine in that it adheres to a retail delivery model; successful urgent care practices are those that have mastered the traditional retail elements of convenience, accessibility, affordability,Read More
As detailed in the first entry of our new occupational medicine series (Foundation of Occupational Medicine in the Urgent Care Setting, page 30), urgent care centers that offer occupational medicine services have reported the dual offerings are complementary in a way that helps balance the patient census and increase revenue. The data here, supplied by Dr. Max Lebow and reflecting Reliant Immediate Care in Los Angeles, illustrate that occ med visits tend to pick up when urgent care visits are lagging, and vice versa. In this way, operators can encourageRead More
Urgent message: Urgent care providers are likely to encounter law enforcement officers in the workplace at some point—and to be asked to comply with requests that may or may not violate a patient’s right to privacy, or compromise the urgent care center’s compliance with federal or state law or medical ethics. Understanding your legal rights and responsibilities is essential to fulfilling your obligations to both the patient and the law. Suzanne Cate Jones and Anne M. Brendel Introduction On the heels of the widely publicized incident involving the arrest ofRead More
Q: Are there specific requirements for Medicare wellness exams and who can perform them? A: Medicare offers an initial preventive physical examination (IPPE), which is also known as the “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit or the annual wellness visit (AWV). Either a physician (a doctor of medicine or osteopathy) or a qualified nonphysician practitioner (a physician assistant, nurse practitioner, or certified clinical nurse specialist) can provide the services. The IPPE is a one-time initial examination that is covered within the first 12-month period after a participant is enrolled in PartRead More
Urgent message: In addition to drug testing their own employees, many urgent care centers offer drug testing as a service to other employers. Therefore, it’s important to understand the laws affecting the privacy of drug screen results.  Alan A. Ayers, MBA, MAcc is Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for Practice Velocity, LLC and is Practice Management Editor of The Journal of Urgent Care Medicine Introduction It’s standard procedure throughout the country for employers to require employees and applicants to submit to drug testing both before and after being hired. ThereRead More
There are 314 code changes in the CPT manual for 2018, with 172 new codes, 60 revised codes, and 82 deleted codes. Most of the changes affect surgery procedures, but the updates include several changes that are relevant to urgent care. For your convenience, we have listed these changes in expected relevance to urgent care: Radiology Codes for x-rays of the chest and abdomen have been deleted and replaced with codes based on the number of views; the guidelines give specific instruction on what has changed: New code 71045, “RadiologicRead More