New HHS Rule May Spell Doom for Freestanding Emergency Room Operators

New HHS Rule May Spell Doom for Freestanding Emergency Room Operators

“Surprise bills” would be illegal under an interim final rule issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. For purposes of the proposed rule, surprise bills are viewed as those received from a healthcare facility or individual provider outside the patient’s insurance coverage after the patient has received services from that facility. While this could apply to any such situation (eg, a patient having an otherwise covered surgical procedure may receive a separate …

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Flu Shots Are Here, and a COVID-19 Vaccine May Not Be Far Behind. Do You Know What Your State Requires of You?

Flu Shots Are Here, and a COVID-19 Vaccine May Not Be Far Behind. Do You Know What Your State Requires of You?

This is not going to be your typical flu season. At best, patients will flood healthcare facilities to get their flu shots early. The worst-case scenario is that they’ll shy away from immunization under the misguided assumption that it could leave them in a weakened state or expose them to people with COVID-19. Recognizing the overlap, as well as the reality that people who work in urgent care centers and other healthcare facilities are not …

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Payroll Tax Deferral Could Land Hard on Urgent Care Employers

Payroll Tax Deferral Could Land Hard on Urgent Care Employers

President Trump’s mandate to offer a deferral on payroll taxes may be intended to provide relief for employers and workers that are struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it could wind up having a detrimental effect on those same entities in the end. Those who accept the offer (which is not an offer at all, but a requirement when it comes to government employees who make less than $104,000 a year) could opt …

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Alert: Deadline for Second Distribution of Provider Relief Fund is Coming Fast

Alert: Deadline for Second Distribution of Provider Relief Fund is Coming Fast

Urgent care operators have an opportunity to secure more funding to fight the detrimental economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic by way of the second round of distribution under the Provider Relief Fund. Note that this is separate from the Paycheck Protection Program. Rather, the PRF is intended to support “families, workers, and the heroic healthcare providers in the battle against the COVID-19 outbreak.” Providers who see Medicare patients should have received funds under the …

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PPP Has Already Been Amended—and the Changes Could Help Save Your Urgent Care Operation

PPP Has Already Been Amended—and the Changes Could Help Save Your Urgent Care Operation

The Paycheck Protection Program was passed to reduce pressure on small businesses, including many urgent care centers, that would have a hard time meeting payroll during the COVID-19 crisis by paving the way for them to get loans. While execution of the plan has had its bumps, both houses of Congress have now approved an amendment, HR 7010, that could help urgent care centers maintain existing staffing levels (or close to them) and even save …

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Bill Could Provide Some Urgent Care Operators with Loans to Reduce Impact of Pandemic

Bill Could Provide Some Urgent Care Operators with Loans to Reduce Impact of Pandemic

Some urgent care operators are seeing patient visits—and associated revenue—dwindle as people heed advice to stay home, where they’re less inclined to get sick or injured. As this period of self-isolation continues, they may be forced to consider cutting back on staff—or worse. However, U.S. Senate Bill 3548, also known as the CARES Act, would provide bridge loans to companies with fewer than 500 employees. The bill is expected to be passed by the House …

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Virginia Lawmakers OK Ambulance Transport Directly to Urgent Care—but There’s a Catch

Virginia Lawmakers OK Ambulance Transport Directly to Urgent Care—but There’s a Catch

The state legislature in Virginia just passed a bill that enables ambulances to transport patients directly to 24-hour urgent care centers and other nonhospital healthcare facilities when clinically appropriate. While clearly that indicates recognition that urgent care centers offer care on par with the ED, short of life- or limb-threatening emergencies, the interesting thing is that only one urgent care operator, Kaiser Permanents, runs facilities that are open 24 hours a day in the Commonwealth. …

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Massachusetts Hospitals Push for More State Control of Urgent Care

Massachusetts Hospitals Push for More State Control of Urgent Care

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 …

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Update: Massachusetts Is Amping Up the Rhetoric to Regulate Urgent Care Again

Update: Massachusetts Is Amping Up the Rhetoric to Regulate Urgent Care Again

After seemingly taking a month off to celebrate the winter holidays, legislators in Massachusetts are again making noise about imposing regulations and licensure standards on urgent care operators in the Commonwealth. An article published by The Boston Globe, headlined State Seeks to Rein In Largely Unregulated Urgent Care Industry, Massachusetts  Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders bemoans “there is no standardized definition or structure” for urgent care and that “in terms of consumer …

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Massachusetts Bill Aims to Define Urgent Care—and Mandate Licensing

Massachusetts Bill Aims to Define Urgent Care—and Mandate Licensing

Among the key points in the healthcare bill introduced by Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker are efforts to settle on a core definition of urgent care, but also steps to require urgent care centers to be “licensed” by the state and provide mental health services, meet certain primary care standards, and accept MassHealth members. Those elements of the bill, H. 4134, are a nod to the growing influence of urgent care (and retail clinics) in Massachusetts, …

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