Letter from the Editor-in-Chief

Connecticut Democrats Seek Regulations for Urgent Care Centers. When this alert hit my inbox, I must say it was a bit alarming. Whenever I see “urgent care” and “regulations” in the news it’s unsettling to say the least. I am probably not alone. The regulatory rumblings have come and gone before, but this one has me more concerned. Here’s a little background: Connecticut legislators and the state Department of Public Health (CDPH) have been interested in looking for ways to reduce the healthcare expenditures related to emergency department utilization forRead More
In my last column, I tried to explain the complicated math involved in calculating the potential financial impact of MACRA/MIPS on urgent care centers. I made the case for a significant return on investment for a typical urgent care with a typical mix of Medicare patients. Of course, all of the potential return depends on implementation of practical and efficient quality improvement programs that meet the measurement and reporting expectations outlined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. So, in this column, we will explore the core categories inRead More

Posted On August 28, 2017 By In Letter from the Editor-in-Chief

Do the MACRA’ena?

Corny titles aside, MACRA/MIPS is creating a great deal of uncertainty and anxiety among physician practices, and urgent care centers are no exception. I have seen a lot of urgent care news sources, including this journal, referencing the latest updates from CMS (or recent articles published by other organizations), but urgent care-specific analysis is in short supply. I frequently hear colleagues say, “Medicare is such a small percent of my business, it’s just not worth the hassle.” Or is it? As with most government programs, complying with the rules indeedRead More
“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” I’m not usually one to quote religious text, but this excerpt from the Serenity Prayer resonates. Perhaps the most pointed and overwhelming challenge facing physicians today is the loss of control over our profession. The last three decades have seen dramatic erosion of the status, ownership, and independence of physicians. The root cause is multifactorial to be sure, with influence from powerful special interests across multipleRead More
CQI – Continuous Quality Improvement: The process by which an organization identifies a problem, plans action to address the problem, implements the plan, and reviews the results for effectiveness.       In healthcare, we commit to CQI in order to affect outcomes; we focus on systems and process and how inefficiencies and lack of integration lead to undesirable outcomes. We scrutinize and identify a problem and propose a plan to change the process to improve outcomes. Here’s a very simple example: A universally accepted clinical quality goal is to reduce theRead More
In my previous column, I discussed the challenging issue of patient satisfaction and the provider behaviors that can contribute to poor service experiences. In this month’s editorial, I will pivot the discussion to the patient profiles and behaviors that can trigger negative interactions and poor service reviews. While most of us understand the importance of “customer service” in healthcare, we do not always dedicate ourselves to understanding the common traps and landmines that lead to service failures. As such, we allow ourselves to be baited into the same disruptive encountersRead More
Patient satisfaction surveys have driven a contentious wedge between management and clinical teams. While management is tasked with ensuring the practice is addressing patient needs and evolving consumer demands, providers are far more concerned with doing the right thing clinically (satisfaction be damned). However, with patient expectations changing, access to care improving, and practice economics eroding, we have to find a way to bridge this issue or we will quickly find ourselves locked in counterproductive bickering while others run off with our patients. Remember, the aging urgent care value propositionRead More
It’s tax time again and that got me thinking. And thinking got me angry. And angry got me belligerent. And belligerent got me nowhere. So, I went back to thinking about it, and here’s my take: Taxes are the contributions we make to society and the government so that it functions reasonably well, preserves our fragile democracy, and supports those who need our help. Yet, as a physician in a primary care specialty, like many of you, I can’t help but feel resentful this time of year. I’m “taxed out,”Read More