UCAOA Policy Principles for Healthcare Reform
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Urgent care centers play an important role in the U.S. healthcare system by delivering prompt care to patients with acute care needs. Urgent care centers provide an important and cost-effective access point for health care and a critical link in continuity of care. Urgent care centers also have the capacity to relieve a healthcare system that is suffering from overburdened primary care providers and crowded emergency room departments.

The Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA) believes all Americans should have access to affordable healthcare coverage that provides access to healthcare providers who are best equipped to meet a patient’s healthcare needs in a timely manner. This means providing patients access to urgent care centers for acute, episodic care and, increasingly, primary care needs.

Health insurance coverage must be predictable, as well as affordable. Therefore, any changes to the insurance marketplace, including repeal of health insurance reforms created by the Affordable Care Act, must be accompanied by a reform timeline and policies that will not result in disruption of the insurance marketplace or the guarantee of coverage now afforded to millions of Americans.

UCAOA has identified the following principles that will guide its advocacy efforts and evaluation of health reform proposals:

  • Urgent care visits should be treated as an essential health insurance benefit.
  • Urgent care should be included as an important element of value-based care and pay for performance initiatives.
  • Site-appropriate delivery of care should be encouraged through consumer financial incentives (e.g., patient cost sharing).
  • High-deductible health care plans should not lead to avoidance of necessary care, including acute care needs in the urgent care setting.
  • Health insurers should be allowed flexibility to meet network adequacy requirements for primary care by contracting with urgent care centers and providers.
  • State Medicaid flexibility must be coupled with financial incentives directed at urgent care centers to improve their Medicaid patient mix, and, consequently, to reduce unnecessary, high-cost hospital emergency department visits by this patient population.
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