FDA investigation continues, unsterile IV fluids affects 40 patients
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are continuing to investigate multiple instances of Wallcur's simulated intravenous (IV) saline products being administered to patients. These products are not sterile and should not be injected in humans or animals. Wallcur's simulated IV saline solution, Practi-0.9% sodium chloride solution, was shipped to medical clinics, surgical centers, and urgent care facilities in numerous states. So far, more than 40 patients have received infusions of the simulated saline products, and there have been many adverse events associated with these incidents. Some patients were hospitalized, and there is one death associated with the use of these products; it is not known if this death is directly related to the use of the product. Adverse events have been reported in seven states.
Wallcur has recalled its simulation IV products, as of Jan. 7. Their web site states "Wallcur Practi-products are for training purposes only and not intended for human or animal use." Many in the industry are speculating that the simulation products may have mistakenly entered the market due to the IV saline product shortages that hospitals have been dealing with since last year.
UCAOA was first notified Dec. 30 by the New York Department of Health regarding an investigation into reports of patients at two urgent care centers who were administered simulation intravenous fluids. The urgent care centers reported ordering normal saline through their regular distributors. UCAOA issued an alert via email and UCAccess, reminding centers to check IV fluids stock. UCAOA will continue to monitor the progress of this situation and relay any updates on this web page.
Take our brief survey on pay differentials
Does your urgent care center have pay differentials for those staff working nights, weekends and/or holidays? Please take the following brief survey and let UCAOA know how your center handles these incentive pay options. Upon completion, you'll receive a snippet from the 2014 Benchmarking Report detailing hours of operation.
Last chance to secure early tuition
Thursday, Jan. 22 is the last day to save $100 on the 2015 Spring Convention (April 27-30 in Chicago) with early tuition. Members save even more on tuition ($275 off), so if you're not a member join today.
This year's annual convention offers urgent care business professionals and clinicians all-new content formatted as five open tracks. Numerous thought-provoking panel discussions, enlightening keynotes and in-depth and interactive presentations have been planned with today's urgent care environment in mind. Obtain real-world insights from industry experts and benefit from boundless career development and networking opportunities. Through participation in the 2015 Spring Convention, attendees are able to obtain 26 hours of CME and more than half of the 40 credits needed to earn the Urgent Care Management Certificate. Don't wait any longer; secure your seat at this year's largest dedicated gathering of urgent care professionals and clinicians. Click here to learn more about the program, hotel reservations, exhibit hall activities, and more.
Free Recorded Webinar
Why People Do What They Do
UCAOA members can purchase for FREE the just recorded webinar "Why People Do What They Do," presented by David Kirk, sales director at Transworld Systems, Inc. Originally held on Thursday, Jan. 15, this online resource is recommended for all levels of urgent care professionals. Gain a better perspective on others around you and realize they do what they do to help meet the core needs in their lives, not just to drive us crazy. CME and UCMC credit is available for this one-hour session. Members log in and purchase for free here; guests pay $70 or join UCAOA to experience these benefits and more.
Special interest groups: Network with peers
As a member of UCAOA, you have access to six different special interest groups (SIGs) that allow you to share ideas with like-minded urgent care peers, solicit advice from experts and grow your professional connections. The UCAOA SIGs represent major points of interest for urgent care professionals, but new groups will be added as member needs and interests are identified. Get started today by joining any of these SIGs: Regional Networking, Coding and Billing, Clinic Startup, EHR Users, Hospital-Owned, and Occupational Medicine.
Have an idea for a new SIG? Let us know by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Measles outbreak spreading beyond Disneyland visitors
Los Angeles Times
The measles outbreak that began at Disneyland during the holiday season is now spreading beyond people who contracted the disease at the theme park. There are now 51 confirmed cases in California, three other states and Mexico. Most of those who were infected never received the measles shot or were only partly immunized. "Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, there's a 90 percent chance that people close to that person who are also not immune will also become infected," said Dr. Eric Handler, Orange County's public health officer and a pediatrician. Health officials are urging people suspected of having measles to first call their health provider before going to a clinic, enabling doctors to make special preparations so patients don't risk infecting others. An urgent care clinic in the San Diego suburb of La Mesa was forced to shut down last week when five people arrived with the telltale rash.
Help first-time Marketplace patients
UCAOA via CDC
Patients who have enrolled in Marketplace health insurance for the first time may need some guidance on how to use their new insurance and order prescriptions. Some important points to emphasize include:
If patients have additional questions or problems with their new coverage they can also call the Marketplace Call Center (1-800-318-2596) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Trained representatives are available to help. The following fact sheets provide more information and may be helpful to place in your urgent care centers: How your Marketplace coverage works| What to know about getting your prescription drugs. These fact sheets are also available in Spanish at marketplace.cms.gov under "Outreach and Education."
- The insurance plan will send enrollment materials and the health insurance card. The card and the materials should be carefully reviewed.
- The premium must be paid after enrollment. Patients can contact their insurer to find out when and how to make the payment.
- Patients will need to visit their insurer’s web site to review the list of drugs their plan covers. They can also get this information by reviewing the coverage materials that were sent or by calling the insurer.
Advertise in relocation guides
Areas which have a large military presence, retirement destinations, or rapidly growing regional economies attracting new families often have print "relocation guides" available to welcome new residents. Reaching "new movers" who will have immediate medical needs but likely will not yet have established primary care relationships can help an urgent care operator capture and build upon loyal relationships with these new residents.
MedExpress urgent care center in works
Times Record Online
MedExpress will have a new center in western Arkansas. Construction is underway on an existing 7,000-square-foot building. Construction is expected to be finished by late March. MedExpress currently has 139 urgent care centers in 11 states. Anne Jamieson, representative of MedExpress says "We look at many factors when choosing a city to place a MedExpress, but we want to improve accessibility for fast, friendly, convenient, and affordable health care."
West Palm Beach Urgent Care extends hours to midnight
West Palm Beach Urgent Care (West Palm Beach, Florida) will be extending their hours to midnight Monday through Friday to better serve the community. Services during the new hours will include regular urgent care services including X-rays, lab tests, minor wound repair, and flu shots. "In an effort to respond to the local area's urgent care needs, we are providing late night extended hours. People will now have options instead of having to go to the hospital emergency room," says Chad Sanders, chief operating officer.
Lafayette General Health receives Urgent Care Certification
Lafayette General Health (LGH) has received its Certified Urgent Care (CUC) designation from the Urgent Care Association of America. LGH's urgent care clinics provide patients with walk-in, extended-hour medical treatment for a wide scope of medical conditions. LGH's urgent care centers are always staffed with a licensed physician and equipped with X-rays and laboratory services.
Some New York nurse practitioners to be freed of doc supervision in 2015
Nurse practitioners in New York with over 3,600 hours of clinical practice, beginning Jan. 1, will no longer be required to have a written collaborative agreement with a physician, nor will they be required to submit patient charts to a physician for review.
How healthcare can use social media effectively and compliantly
As a regulated industry, many healthcare organizations have avoided the use of social media, and have even tried to squelch its use by their employees. However, some healthcare providers are beginning to realize that there are opportunities to serve the public, patients and physicians, all while building awareness and enhancing their brand.
Clean hands save lives: A vigilance that must never falter
By Christina Thielst
Hand washing in healthcare has long been associated with preventing the spread of disease, but frequent hand washing has its challenges. In the early 2000s, the recipe for alcohol-based hand rubs was perfected — offering a more efficient, portable and worker-friendly alternative. Since then, these hand sanitizing gels have been promoted for controlling the spread of nosocomial influenza and infections around the world. However, the behavior of healthcare workers — or the sociology of cleaning hands to save lives — is also an important consideration.
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CMS head Tavenner resigns unexpectedly
Health IT Outcomes
Obamacare’s top official will step down at the end of February. The top administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Marilyn Tavenner, has announced that she is stepping down effective at the end of February. Principal deputy administrator Andy Slavitt will serve as the acting administrator in her wake.
68 percent of new doctors prefer to be employed physicians
Newly-minted physicians have between fifty and one hundred job offers to sift through before the starch even wears out of their lab coats, according to a new survey by Merritt Hawkins, and the majority will choose employment with a larger practice, hospital, or health system over entering a solo private practice. As an ongoing shortage of physicians, driven in part by the burden of mandates such as meaningful use and the expense of EHR adoption, begins to put the squeeze on care availability, new trends in physician employment are changing the way healthcare is delivered in the United States.