Recognizing the wisdom of offering patients a wider variety of options than primary care or the emergency room, more hospital systems are extending their brands to urgent care by entering into joint ventures with urgent care operators, or creating new urgent care centers of their own. The media are taking notice, too; a new article in Modern Healthcare details the investments MultiCare Health System, based in Tacoma, WA and Northwell Health of New Hyde Park, NY have made in their urgent care holdings. As we told you here, MultiCare nearly doubled the number of urgent care centers it operates (from 15 to 29) by buying Immediate Clinic Seattle in September. Northwell plans to add 12 centers to the 33 it already owns by the end of 2017; it runs the centers in a 50/50 joint venture with GoHealth Urgent Care. Adam Boll, vice president of ventures for Northwell, is quoted in the article as saying hospitals are simply following patient demand for more efficient, lower cost treatment for lower acuity complaints than an emergency room can promise. The Urgent Care Association of America says there are nearly 7,357 urgent care centers in the U.S., with 15% being owned outright by hospitals and 16% being joint ventures between hospitals and urgent care operators.
Hospitals Want a Bigger Piece of the Urgent Care Pie