Influenza A (H3N2) survey results
This year's flu season is reaching epidemic levels, and UCAOA conducted a brief survey to obtain insight on how your urgent care center and patients are being affected by H3N2. Of those centers that participated in our survey, 89 percent indicated that their center is experiencing an increase in flu cases this season. Click here to see the full results and comments.
Using the FIRR technique when you need to confront an employee
Nine out of 10 of urgent care center owners or managers express hesitation when faced with confronting an employee. You may find yourself resorting to the "hope it gets better" strategy, or the more desperate "hope he or she quits" strategy. Unfortunately, these methods do not improve the situation or protect you legally! That's where the FIRR method comes in. In this practice management article, guest blogger Paul Edwards, CEO and co-founder of CEDR HR Solutions, provides insight on "FIRR," a strategic formula for confronting nearly any employee issue fairly and calmly. Please note this article is for logged in members only.
2015 Spring Convention: Destination Chicago
The UCAOA 2015 National Urgent Care Convention (April 27-30) will be held in Chicago — UCAOA headquarters location — and we're excited to be able to show off the many diverse and unique qualities that make our city so special. With more than 200 theaters, 552 parks and 7,300 restaurants, it's no wonder why each year Chicago hosts nearly 46 million visitors. New for this year's annual convention, the UCAOA Local Arrangements Committee has hand selected a few choice tours and outings for attendees and their families. Details on these exciting excursions will soon be available online, but check out our Destination Chicago web page for a taste of what's in store.
Be sure to secure your hotel accommodations at the Hyatt Regency Chicago as soon as possible because the UCAOA discounted room block sells out quickly. Convention tuition rates will also increase after Thursday, Jan. 22, so be sure to register now for a Pre-Convention Course and/or the Main Convention.
Live webinar: Better Communication at Work (Part 2)
Join us on Thursday, Jan. 22 at 1pm CT for our live webinar "Developing Better Communication at Work (Part 2)." David Kirk, sales director at Transworld Systems. Inc., will build on the lessons offered during part one of this two-part webinar series to inform viewers on the "cues" that co-workers give off and how to interpret them for better work relationships and improved communications.
UCAOA members, log in to the UCAOA web site to register here. Guests, please click here to create a non-member individual profile to be able to register for this webinar and track purchases and CME credits. Members pay $50| Non-member pay $70. As an added bonus, members will receive free access to the recorded webinar "Why People Do What They Do (Part 1)," which was held live today; look for it in the UCAOA store next week.
Measles cases on the rise
Most Americans were worrying about Ebola, norovirus and the flu this past year, but the once "eliminated" measles virus was making a comeback. The CDC reports that from January through November of 2014, 610 measles cases had been reported in 24 states in 20 separate outbreaks. That’s the greatest number of cases of this infection the country has seen since 2000. Read more and read the CDC current vaccine shortages and delays report, which contains a note about the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
Flu epidemic in the US: Vaccinate all pregnant women
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)
The CDC has declared an influenza epidemic in the U.S. There has been antigenic drift in one of the strains of the virus seen circulating now versus the strain chosen for the vaccine. Therefore, it is extremely important for providers to promptly treat all patients with influenza-like-illness (ILI), even women who have been vaccinated. So far, among the 35 hospitalized women of childbearing age (15-44 years), 12 (34.3 percent) were pregnant. Vaccination is particularly important for pregnant women who are at higher risk of complications and severe illness from influenza.
IMPORTANT: If any of your pregnant patients present with influenza-like-illness (ILI) such as fever >37.8°C (100.0°F), cough or sore throat, chills, body aches/muscle pain, headache begin treatment with antivirals immediately. Your decision should be based on clinical assessment and you should not wait nor rely on rapid test results which are often inaccurate. Patient with influenza-like illness should be treated with antiviral medications presumptively regardless of vaccination status.
For more information, visit ACOG's Immunization for Women web site and download the Influenza Season Assessment and Treatment for Pregnant Women with Influenza-Like Illness algorithm.
Health Insurance Marketplace has a Spanish-language web site
UCAOA via CMS
The Health Insurance Marketplace now offers a Spanish-language web site with all the same information available on Healthcare.gov. Urgent care centers can refer uninsured patients who prefer to receive information in Spanish to CuidadoDeSalud.gov where they can learn more about the Marketplace and sign up for health coverage. Patients can also call the Marketplace call center to speak with Spanish speaking call representatives (1-800-318-2596). In addition, the majority of CMS' Marketplace education and outreach resources are available in Spanish at Marketpalce.cms.gov. Urgent care centers can print factsheets, brochures, and other handouts in both English and Spanish for patients.
Accept Bitcoin as payment
Rapid Med Urgent Care Center (Highland Village, Texas) accepts Bitcoin as a payment method, in addition to other methods, making them the first medical center and physician's office in Texas to accept the payment method. Bitcoin payments can be made on both insurance co-pays or out-of-pocket visits. Accepting Bitcoin has garnered media attention for the center with features on CBS news, Daily Mail, Cross Timbers Gazette, and Star Local Media. So what is Bitcoin exactly? It's a peer-to-peer currency that enables instant payments to anyone located anywhere in the world. The entire Bitcoin network is decentralized, allowing a method of payment independent of governments and banking institutions.
FastMed revamps newly-acquired facility
The Daily Herald
After purchasing Carolina Quick Care, FastMed Urgent Care is now focusing on revitalizing the previously owned locations, some 20-30 years old. These renovations include updated patient care practices and aesthetics. Reuel Heyden, the company's director of communications said "We put a lot of time and capital into care of patients and facilities. We make sure our facilities are warm, welcoming, beautiful facilities for our patients."
Doctors Express, physicians group reach deal on urgent care
Worchester Business Journal
Doctors Express will offer health care to patients of physicians who belong to the Central Massachusetts Independent Physicians Association (CMIPA) under a new partnership. The goal of this partnership is to improve access to urgent care and to forge stronger relationships between primary care and urgent care services. "Doctors Express will honor our patient relationships and extend patient care on nights and weekends for a true, mutually beneficial partnership," said Gail Sillman, CEO of CMIPA.
MedExpress expands facilities in Arkansas
MedExpress Urgent Care recently opened an urgent care center in Conway, Arkansas, an event that followed the opening of three centers in northwest Arkansas beginning in July. The state has been major expansion in urgent care across the board. MedExpress expects to open facilities in Fort Smith and Russellville, Arkansas as well.
Hospitals, urgent care centers find common ground
HealthLeaders published a story about the emergence of urgent care and health system partnerships in which UCAOA Practice Management Advisor and Board Member Alan Ayers, MBA, MAcc, was quoted. Ayers' insights are reflected at the beginning of the article, showcasing the vital role of urgent care in the healthcare mix, urgent care's growth due to increased need in the marketplace and the high-quality care urgent care centers offer. This is the first in a two-part series and highlights the importance of hospitals, PCPs and urgent care centers working together, and offers several examples of how this is being achieved. Read more and click here for part two of the story, which focuses on retail clinics.
Flu still elevated, virus takes 5 additional lives
Becker's Infection Control & Clinical Quality
The current flu season continues to intensify across the U.S., and is now widespread in 46 states as of Jan. 3, up from 43 states the week before. Five new flu-associated pediatric deaths were recently reported by the CDC and only a handful of states are not inundated by the virus yet (Alaska, Arizona, California and Hawaii as well as Washington, D.C.) The CDC Gallup Poll shows the 2014-2015 flu season is on trend to be one of the worst in US history.
How far should practices go to prevent the spread of germs?
With flu season well under way and the Ebola crisis unresolved, practices need a plan in place to ensure patients (and staff) don't leave their offices with more illnesses than with which they arrived. Because the spread of germs can be difficult to contain, some offices are turning to telemedicine to treat potentially infectious patients. While this solution may not be for every center, there are more practical steps that medical facilities can take toward better infection control.
Happy days are here again for healthcare hiring, mostly
Healthcare job growth rebounded in 2014, especially in the year's final quarter. December marked another robust month of hiring, contributing to nearly average employment gains for the year after five years of below-average growth.
Survey: Many providers charging patients for access to their EHRs
Modern Healthcare via iHealthBeat
Many providers are charging patients for access to their electronic health records, with the price varying by provider, according to a survey published by the American Health Information Management Association, Modern Healthcare reports. The survey, which was conducted by Texas State University professor Kim Murphy-Abdouch, included responses from 313 executives across several different healthcare settings.
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