To adapt to the increased demand for urgent care (UC), Eskenazi Health in Indiana has evolved its clinics into hybrid centers that offer urgent care, primary care, and specialty care, including behavioral health, according to the Indy Star. Providers who typically see patients with seasonal respiratory viruses and other UC-appropriate concerns have regularly addressed mental health crises and referred patients to specialist care. The news outlet reports that provider shortages are driving consumers to urgent care. Rural communities in particular are relying more frequently on urgent care centers to provide a wide range of services and at greater levels of acuity as a result of the recent trends in rural hospital closures. For some communities, urgent care is the only reasonable access point.
Let’s hear from the UCA: Changing demands in Eskenazi’s market mean patients want immediate attention without having to schedule a future appointment with their physician. “We used to have to wait for TV shows, now we don’t wait,” said Urgent Care Association CEO Lou Ellen Horwitz, in the article. “We expect the same of healthcare.” She also noted the trend in UC centers expanding services to counteract the lack of emergency room access.