No Troponin, No Problem: Reimagining Chest Pain Assessment in Urgent Care

No Troponin, No Problem: Reimagining Chest Pain Assessment in Urgent Care

Most urgent care providers loathe when a patient checks in with chest pain because, typically, they are presenting because they’re worried about a heart attack, and we’re worried we don’t have the tools to exclude this diagnosis. It’s no surprise that we’re met with consternation when we suggest they may have come to the wrong place for care. But is unavailability of troponin testing a worthy scapegoat? And is the practice of ED referral for …

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Avoiding Defamation Lawsuits in Urgent Care

Avoiding Defamation Lawsuits in Urgent Care

Urgent message: People are unlikely to trust their healthcare to a provider with a sullied reputation, so speaking ill of a provider can cost them in terms of patient revenue or future employment opportunities. Understanding the causes and defenses for defamation can help you protect your reputation and your business. Alan A. Ayers, MBA, MAcc We live in a nation where the First Amendment should protect “free speech,” particularly among public figures. Yet, Google “defamation …

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Yes, Urgent Care Lost Visits During the Pandemic—but Other Settings Lost Far More

Yes, Urgent Care Lost Visits During the Pandemic—but Other Settings Lost Far More

It won’t be news to you that patient visits dropped—precipitously at times—over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. And there’s no getting around the fact that business has suffered, though it’s also a plain fact that many patients are returning. What is probably less evident, but certainly interesting, is that between 2019 and 2020 urgent care centers saw less of a decline in  utilization than emergency rooms and ambulatory surgery centers,  as illustrated in the …

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Urgent Care Billing: Best Practices Scorecard

When it comes to measuring your financial performance, metrics translate the actions of others into insight. They provide visibility into the efficacy of your overall billing process. But while they may shine a light on where you need to improve, they don’t tell you how to do it. For a better understanding of how well your clinic is optimizing the billing process, look at your everyday practices. Our revenue cycle management (RCM) experts compiled 10 …

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2021 E/M Guidelines: Your Questions Answered

It’s been 14 months since the new evaluation and management guidelines took effect. Many providers struggled to modify their documentation after 25 years with the 1995 guidelines. Urgent care practices stepped up with training programs to get through the learning curve with some new concepts. This month I’ll address some of the common questions that we receive. Do I have to meet the level in all the elements to bill a code? No, the level …

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Your Best Investment Is Growing Your Own Business

Your Best Investment Is Growing Your Own Business

Urgent message: Many urgent care operators took full advantage of opportunities to serve their communities during the pandemic, accumulating cash in the process. While many question what comes next, there’s no better time to grow your own urgent care business. Alan A. Ayers, MBA, MAcc is President of Experity Networks and is Senior Editor of The Journal of Urgent Care Medicine. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, and within …

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Our Readers Write—and Have a Lot to Say About ‘Toxic Positivity’

Our Readers Write—and Have a Lot to Say About ‘Toxic Positivity’

The January 2022 issue of JUCM led off with an editorial by Editor-in-Chief Joshua W. Russell, MD, MSc, FCUCM, FACEP about what he called “actually the epidemic that is decimating the healthcare workforce” and “a silent killer of healthcare careers.” He was referring to toxic positivity, or the practice of “encouraging” someone—in this case healthcare providers in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic—to find and focus on the bright side rather than dwell on withering …

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Urgent Care Is Evolving, but Its Foundational Attributes Remain

Urgent Care Is Evolving, but Its Foundational Attributes Remain

In the article Your Best Investment Is Growing Your Own Business (page 25), Alan A. Ayers, MBA, MAcc makes the case that this could be an ideal time for urgent care operators to bet on their own future growth and success by investing back into their business. For one thing, the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be winding down in the U.S., with our industry having made tremendous progress in earning what Urgent Care Association CEO …

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What Else is New in 2022?

The Protecting Medicare and American Farmers from Sequester Cuts Act was signed into law on December 10, 2021. This law addresses the reduction in the 2022 Conversion Factor set by the Physician Final Rule, as reported in my December column, increasing the 2022 Conversion Factor by 3%. The new conversion factor becomes $34.61 compared to $34.89 in 2021. With the increase in Relative Value Units on most E/M codes, the impact to 2022 rates becomes …

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Once You’re in Court, Your Documentation May Be All That Can Save You

Once You’re in Court, Your Documentation May Be All That Can Save You

Sal D’Allura, DO, FAAFP “It’s lonely being the defendant in a medical malpractice case.” Truer words were never spoken. At some point in our careers, the majority of us will be named in a medical negligence case. The unfortunate reality is that medicolegal issues will arise as a part of our professional lives along with a multitude of negative emotions (which inevitably spill over into our personal lives) when we stand accused. These negative feelings, …

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