This year has seen record low interest in emergency medicine residency positions, with 555 unmatched positions (compared with 219 in 2022), according to an article published by MedPage Today. It’s not a sudden trend, either; between 2021 and 2022, applications to EM residencies dropped 16.8%. While the American College of Emergency Physicians is reportedly putting together a task force to grasp the reason for the decline (and to figure out a way to reverse it), …Read More
Patients Have a Hard Time Figuring Out When It’s Appropriate to Visit Urgent Care. Help Them Out
Community media resources are rife with articles and posts aiming to help readers understand when it makes sense to visit a hospital emergency room vs urgent care vs a retail pharmacy clinic. The Chicago-area Daily Herald just ran one listing complaints appropriate for presentation to various settings, for example. (For the record, their list for urgent care includes allergic reaction, sore throat, ear infection, sprains, animal bites, flu symptoms, minor burns and injuries, and broken …Read More
Update: States Are Dropping Pandemic Rules for Healthcare Workers. What’s the Status in Yours?
Just last week we told you the federal government is allowing COVID-19 emergency declarations to expire without renewal for the first time since they were enacted to help protect the public and healthcare professionals from infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The first two—the national emergency declaration and the public health emergency—are set to expire on May 11. Now comes word that states are starting to rescind rules imposed during the pandemic. As reported by Becker’s …Read More
Provider Happiness Has Taken a Beating Since the Pandemic; Check in with Colleagues (and Yourself)
As JUCM News readers know, research has shown that healthcare provider burnout increased significantly over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. New research published by Medscape, which also took part in the project, took a slightly alternate approach to the issue by asking 9,100 providers in 29 specialties not only about burnout, but also to assess their degree of happiness. While urgent care was not one of those specialties, it’s noteworthy that the specialties most …Read More
Providers and Coders Take Note: More Patients with Mental Health Issues Are Heading Your Way
It’s likely you’ve noticed seeing more patients with complaints related to their mental health and emotional wellbeing since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. What may be more surprising, if you hadn’t noticed, is that the trend began well before 2020. New research published by Health Affairs shows that between 2006 and 2018 the percentage of visits to primary care related to mental health concerns increased from 11% to 16%. The authors attributed the increase …Read More
Healthcare Burnout Isn’t Only for Providers. Have You Checked in with Patients Lately?
Urgent care providers and operators are probably too aware of how common burnout is among healthcare professionals, especially since the dawn of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s true, of course, and it is a serious, ongoing concern. However, an article just published by Time magazine points out that patients may also be experiencing their own variety of burnout associated with healthcare. One factor the piece notes—having to wait weeks to see a provider when the patient …Read More
When the Elements Shut You Down, You Need a Plan for Your Patients—and Your Team
Much of the U.S. is getting hammered with winter storms as of this writing, forcing some urgent care operators to decide whether it’s worth it (and safe) to conduct business as usual, close early, or not even open up for the day. Prevea Health in Wisconsin, for one, got ahead of the game by announcing in local media and its own platforms that they’d be closing all locations, including urgent care centers, from Wednesday afternoon …Read More
Do New Data Reflect Acuity Degradation in Urgent Care?
New data from the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker show that healthcare facilities, in general, are filing for higher-complexity care than in years past—but that urgent care providers buck the trend by filing such claims at a lower rate than their counterparts in the emergency room and traditional physician practices. Looking at claims for outpatient visits between 2004 and 2021 from the Merative MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters database for nonelderly people, researchers determined that providers …Read More
Low Reimbursements Are Pushing Some Urgent Care Operators to Make Tough Decisions
It’s common (and understandable) for urgent care operators and providers to feel undercompensated by payers for the services they provide. The quality of care is excellent, typically, and the cost savings passed along to insurers every time a patient can avoid going to the emergency room is almost incalculable. And yet, those insurers impose policies that make it very difficult for reimbursements to match the presumed value of urgent care. Workplace efficiencies can only go …Read More
The Safety and Security of Your Center Are Under Assault. Is Your Team Prepared?
Trinity Health St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, MI had to shut its emergency room down due to a bomb threat one evening last week. It was just the latest in a series of threatened or actual violence at healthcare facilities in the United States. Last June, a former surgical patient went on a shooting spree at Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa, OK, killing four people and injuring several others before committing suicide. Then in …Read More