We told you recently that legislators in Massachusetts have again picked up efforts to impose new regulations and licensing standards on urgent care operators there—all of which would result in operators paying more to the state, of course. The crux of the argument is whether urgent care centers operate more like hospitals (in which case they would have to be licensed as such) or like physician offices. Now the president and CEO of the Massachusetts Health & Hospitals Association has identified the growth of urgent care in his state as a cause for concern, and arguably implying that urgent care providers are loose cannons who are not restrained by the same ethos as hospital-based physicians. When Steve Walsh appeared on a podcast called the CommonWealth Codcast recently, he raised the question of whether urgent care centers that are not affiliated with a hospital system “are doing the same kind of programs for the opioid epidemic as our traditional hospitals are.” He also revealed himself to be concerned that urgent care operators aren’t kicking in enough to state healthcare bodies (putting what he sees as an undue burden on his membership, in other words). “Are [urgent care operators] helping to fund…the Center for Health Information and Analysis, the Health Policy Commission, and community benefits?” It’s a shrewd PR move that has worked throughout the ages: Ask a provocative question for which there’s no immediate answer in the moment to plant the seeds of doubt in the audience’s mind. It’s a situation that bears watching, as adding new levels of regulation—and fees—in Massachusetts could inspire other states to head down a similar path.


Massachusetts Hospitals Push for More State Control of Urgent Care
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