JUCM News readers know that state and federal regulations adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic are being rescinded or are expiring in waves, with direct and indirect effects on urgent care. With May 11 marking the end of the official federal public health emergency, the Association of American Medical Colleges’ AAMC News reports that some 17 million people formerly covered via emergency Medicaid enrollment are now likely to lose that coverage, with approximately 6.8 million not expected to find new insurance but likely to “fall through the bureaucratic cracks, leaving them uninsured.” As such, the article predicts that such patients are likely to “wind up seeking uncompensated care in the emergency department.” This begs the question, what effect will that have on wait times and the likelihood that fully insured patients will find it even more challenging than it already is to get care in the ED in a timely manner? Certainly it’s not going to make the prospect more appealing than it is now. Urgent care operators would be wise to survey the landscape and be prepared to catch any overflow if local hospitals are inundated with more ED patients than they can handle.
Hospitals Are Bracing for an Onslaught of Uninsured Patients; Will the Ripples Reach Urgent Care?