Regular readers of JUCM News know that hospitals have been buying or starting their own urgent care centers in greater numbers in recent years. It’s self-evident that they see it as a good business to enter, but a new article in the Wall Street Journal confirms the economic advantages of keeping patients in-house, instead of referring them out to urgent care centers or specialty practices outside of the hospital’s organization—as in, millions of dollars in potential revenue annually. Quoting data from Merritt Hawkins, the Journal article puts the yearly figure at $1.8 million, on average, for internal medicine physician admissions, referrals for tests, and other services that would go to other sources if the hospital system isn’t able to meet those needs. Such data are driving decisions like investing more heavily in urgent care as the companies that own hospitals take a more aggressive attitude toward protecting their turf—to the extent that terms like “market share” are now cropping up in meetings between hospital administrators and clinical staff, according to the piece. While it’s not the focus of that article, the text ends up providing excellent justification for hospitals wanting to get into the urgent care game.
WSJ: Keeping Patients In-House is Solid Rationale for Hospitals to Own Urgent Care Centers