UnitedHealth Sets $100 Billion Expectation for Medical Business

UnitedHealth Sets $100 Billion Expectation for Medical Business

Some “experts” in both the insurance and healthcare industries may have been skeptical when UnitedHealth Group’s Optima division bought MedExpress a few years ago. Others predicted that the insurance giant would likely look for ways to deliver deeper healthcare services to their own plan members. They were right. MedExpress is now the largest urgent care chain in the country. UHG expects even bigger things to come, however—projecting that MedExpress will help push its OptumCare medical …

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Key Trends in Overall Healthcare Align with Urgent Care’s Path

Key Trends in Overall Healthcare Align with Urgent Care’s Path

According to a new report from Definitive Healthcare, industry consolidation and consumerism are the two hottest trends among healthcare companies in the United States—both of which, as we know, also reflect the growth and attributes of the urgent care business. The third most-mentioned trends, the rise of telehealth, is becoming a hot topic in urgent care circles, as well. Industry consolidation was the most-mentioned response (25% of the 1,000 healthcare leaders in the provider, biotech, …

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Is a More Efficient Practice the Answer to the Physician Shortage—Assuming It Exists?

Is a More Efficient Practice the Answer to the Physician Shortage—Assuming It Exists?

We’ve all heard how the infamous, impending physician shortage will make efficient delivery of quality care more challenging than ever before. As we’ve told you, those concerns are actually influencing the evolution of urgent care—for example, leading operators to consider greater utilization of advanced-practice providers. Interestingly, a new post on Advisory Board turns the whole issue on its ear by asking the question, “does America have a physician shortage—or are our doctors ‘just bad at …

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It’s Official: Practice Velocity + DocuTAP = Experity, Reflecting the Rise of the On-Demand Market

It’s Official: Practice Velocity + DocuTAP = Experity, Reflecting the Rise of the On-Demand Market

As we told you last month, the private equity firm Warburg Pincus had big plans to merge DocuTAP and Practice Velocity, the two leading technology and services companies serving the urgent care marketplace. That goal has now been realized in the form of Experity, whose mission will be to continue to support and invest in all the current software platforms and services previously provided by the merging companies while offering customers—some 4,000 clinics across the …

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In Urgent Care and Beyond, Employed Physicians Now Outnumber Self-Employed

In Urgent Care and Beyond, Employed Physicians Now Outnumber Self-Employed

For the first time ever in the United States, the number of physicians who are employed by someone else is greater than the number of self-employed physicians, according to new data from the American Medical Association. Overall, 47% of all physicians were employees in 2018, up 6% since the last time the AMA did similar research in 2012—compared with 46% who described themselves as “self-employed” in a clinical setting. It’s part of an overall trend …

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Employing PAs and NPs in Urgent Care Can Save on Payroll—But for How Long?

Employing PAs and NPs in Urgent Care Can Save on Payroll—But for How Long?

The growing authority—and employment—of physician assistants and nurse practitioners in many practice settings demonstrates the practical need for high-level clinicians who cost less to employ than physicians. You can engage more of them than you can physicians, per dollar. That helps the operation run more smoothly without breaking the bank, theoretically. As PAs and NPs, known collectively as advanced-practice providers (APPs), grow in stature, however, a movement is afoot to free them from the bonds …

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More Rationale for Urgent Care: Travel and Wait Times in Healthcare Cost $89 Billion Annually

More Rationale for Urgent Care: Travel and Wait Times in Healthcare Cost $89 Billion Annually

Americans spend more time traveling to and waiting to be seen by a healthcare provider than any other single pursuit, including in the infamously inefficient motor vehicle department, according to a study just released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, that time amounts to an economic cost of roughly $89 billion dollars annually—and that’s not counting the time they spend in the exam room. Over the entire survey period (2006–2017), the sum approaches …

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New UCA Benchmarking Report Paints a Picture of a Booming Urgent Care Industry

New UCA Benchmarking Report Paints a Picture of a Booming Urgent Care Industry

The latest Benchmarking Report from the Urgent Care Association shows 8% growth in the urgent care industry over 2017, continuing an unbroken record of year-over-year growth and confirming that more people than ever are hungry for on-demand, affordable care. It also indicates that urgent care operations have been successful in adapting their offerings to fit the evolving needs of the patient population—and doing so with increasing efficiency, at that. The 2018 Benchmarking Report notes that …

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Don’t Blame Doctors for Driving Up Healthcare Costs

Don’t Blame Doctors for Driving Up Healthcare Costs

Patients may sometimes be inclined to look at a medical bill and envision their doctor sliding behind the wheel of their brand-new Bentley at the end of a shift. We know that’s not exactly how it works, but now a new study in Health Affairs presents an academic approach to quantifying that fact. It suggests the growth in private insurance costs lies more with hospital prices than it does the cost of the physician’s time. …

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Study Spotlights Huge Disparity in Cost Between Freestanding EDs and Urgent Care

Study Spotlights Huge Disparity in Cost Between Freestanding EDs and Urgent Care

Urgent care veterans, insurers, and certainly any patient who has ever visited both have been saying this for a long time, but a new study out of Vanderbilt University Medical Center confirms that freestanding emergency rooms are likely to charge more (sometimes a lot more) than urgent care centers for the same services. The study, newly published in The Journal of Emergency Medicine, uncovered certain cost characteristics of freestanding EDs that had been converted from …

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