There are 220 children’s hospitals in the United States; many have their own pediatric urgent care facilities. At the same time, as we’ve reported, non hospital-affiliated urgent care operators are popping up everywhere. There’s been little or no overlap, outside of referrals as needed—until PM Pediatrics struck a partnership with WakeMed Children’s to provide urgent care services to younger patients in the Raleigh, NC area. It’s an interesting blend of cultures. Children’s hospital-affiliated urgent care centers often accept Medicaid patients, and some are known for charging facility fees and ER rates. That’s because a large portion of the Medicaid population consists of children covered under the State Health Insurance Program; further, children’s hospitals are known for giving away hundreds of millions in charity care. Independent pediatric urgent care centers tend to open later in the day, after pediatric offices are closed. If the WakeMed–PM Pediatrics collaboration works, watch for private/entrepreneurial urgent care operators to look for similar opportunities with children’s hospitals.
Partnerships Between Pediatric Urgent Care Operators and Children’s Hospitals Could Be a Game-Changer