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The COVID-19 pandemic has put us all to a test. Urgent care operators have had to be creative in finding new approaches to offering care while keeping workers safe, and ensuring that patients have felt as comfortable as possible visiting when they need same-day medical attention. There’s a secondary price to pay for all that vigilance, though: The stress and fear that accompanied the pandemic have taken a toll on our collective mental and emotional wellbeing. This begs the question, is it time for urgent care to take another look at offering substantive behavioral health services? Aside from the obvious need in the community, there may be competitive reasons to evaluate this prospect. CVS recently announced a pilot program to place mental health professionals in up to 34 stores in the Houston, Philadelphia, and Tampa, FL metropolitan areas this year. And Richland County (Ohio) Mental Health and Recovery Services plans to open at least one behavioral health urgent care facility in August. By partnering with Catalyst Life Services and Family Life Counseling and Psychiatric Services, the county aims to provide walk-in access for initial assessments and brief, solution-focused counseling 6 days a week, including evening hours for 4 days. There’s no telling how successful these ventures will be from a care perspective or financially, of course, but the need is clear. Might urgent care be in a good position to meet it?

Is It Time for Urgent Care to Consider Offering More Behavioral Health Services?