ALL members eligible to e-vote for UCAOA Board election
For the first time, ALL UCAOA members can participate in electing new UCAOA Board members. The UCAOA election process historically took place at the annual convention. Thus, while proxy was available, only those present could participate. To provide this opportunity to all eligible individual/voting members or urgent care member clinics, e-voting is opening on March 10.
Each individual or clinic member will be afforded vote(s) commensurate with the UCAOA level of membership. If you have a clinic membership, your vote will be weighted based on the number of clinics in your "organization." An email with a link to the ballot and personalized login credentials will be sent out on March 10. Individual members will receive an email to the designated address in their profile, and clinic members have a designated corporate contact who will be receiving the email. If your organization would like to designate an alternate contact, please email Jami Kral by March 3.
The election process will open March 10 and close at 6 p.m. Mountain (Las Vegas) time on March 19. If you are attending the National Urgent Care Convention, voting kiosks will be set up at UCAOA Central, located in the Paris Foyer or you can vote via any device with an Internet connection. All other eligible members can vote from home the same way.
This year, UCAOA has three open director positions. Thank you to the years of service to UCAOA and the urgent care industry provided by those members who will be rotating off of the Board: Dr. Don Dillahunty (TX), Dr. Peter Lamelas (FL), and Dr. Roger Hicks (running for re-election). Drs. Dillahunty and Lamelas have completed their second term and are not eligible for re-election. Your 2014 slate of candidates are as follows and be sure to look for candidate bios and videos posted on the members' only site, UConnect, in the coming weeks.
Strategies to Survive and Succeed: Healthcare Reform Track at National Convention
The National Urgent Care Convention is fast approaching and if you have not secured your seat at this year's event, be sure to do so by Friday, Feb. 28, to avoid a $100 tuition increase. This year's educational program has been enhanced and expanded to offer even more courses on the topics affecting you most in urgent care. On Wednesday, March 19, the convention’s healthcare reform track will provide the strategies for your urgent care facility to survive and succeed in the changing healthcare environment. If you are a practice administrator, you will not find this kind of forward-thinking expert information anywhere else. Be sure to take advantage of this day devoted to healthcare reform specific to the urgent care industry. Attend these informative sessions:
Network with your state colleagues
Attend the National Urgent Care Convention and meet with urgent care professionals from your state. UCAOA is a space and venue for these gatherings. Whether its state-related regulatory issues, reimbursement challenges with local third party payers or simply comparing how others are dealing with the same issues you are facing, all attendees will benefit from this focused regional networking opportunity. You and your practice will benefit. If you are interested in hosting or attending one of these state-driven meetings, please contact either Patricia Ferchland at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jami Kral at email@example.com to reserve a time and room. Don't miss out on this opportunity to collaborate with urgent care providers within your state.
Complimentary recorded webinar: CMS Presents Health Insurance Marketplace
UCAOA hosted and recorded a webinar on Feb. 13 featuring Susan Gratzer from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) who provided tips and resources for you and your patients on how best to navigate the marketplace. Find out what you need to know about the newly insured population. UCAOA members receive access to this recorded webinar free. Click here to sign in and access the webinar.
Understanding the economics of urgent care lab and X-ray services
The availability of on-site lab and X-ray services differentiates urgent care centers and is essential to the accurate diagnosis and treatment of patients. However, as with any service, lab and X-ray need to contribute positively to the center's bottom line if centers are to continue offering these services in the future. In this month's feature, Alan Ayers, UCAOA's Practice Management Advisor and Board Member, explains how the shift from fee-for-service to case rate reimbursement makes it increasingly difficult for centers to recoup the costs of lab and X-ray. Therefore, it's more important than ever for the urgent care operator to understand the economics of these services. Performing a financial analysis of lab and X-ray services can provide insights that influence provider utilization, staffing models and clinical best practices.
Marketing to diversity
When operating an urgent care center in a community with different linguistic and ethnic minorities, consider printing marketing materials in each of the dominant languages of the community. Not only should the imagery used (including the race/ethnicity of any human models) be relevant to the target audience, but the text should consider that immigrants and others who may have had little prior experience with the U.S. healthcare system require greater education as to what your center's services entail. Of course, anyone you invite to your center via advertising you should be able to serve with bilingual providers, bilingual staff or vendor translation services available.
Additional Resources: Attend one of these Pre-Convention Courses at the 2014 National Urgent Care Convention in Las Vegas: Comprehensive Clinic Startup, March 16 and 17; Urgent Care Marketing, March 17; or, Tools for Improving the Patient Experience, March 17.
If you have tips or advice to share with others, please send your submission along with any photos to Amanda Mannina at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your idea may be included in an upcoming issue of UCAccess.
Now online in JUCM
A new urgent care Images Challenge case is now available only on the JUCM website. Review the case of a 59-year-old man with diabetes who presented with pain and swelling in his right foot. Examine the X-ray, consider what your diagnosis would be, then check the case resolution to see if you were right. To take the Images Challenge, go to http://jucm.com/iucc/?id=165.
The Journal of Urgent Care Medicine supports the evolution of urgent care medicine by creating content that addresses the clinical practice of urgent care medicine and the practice management challenges of keeping pace with an ever-changing healthcare marketplace. Are you an urgent care provider who would like to write for our journal? Send an email to email@example.com for information on our author guidelines.
Making a healthy investment in urgent care
Urgent care and retail clinic businesses are booming these days. The tremendous growth can be attributed to the declining number of primary care physicians, an increase in the number of insured and customer demand for more convenient and affordable services. "Regardless of the business model, whether it's urgent care or retail clinics, consumers are looking for a place to go to have their medical problems solved," said Alan Ayers, a board member of the Urgent Care Association of America and associate editor of the Journal of Urgent Care Medicine. "Urgent care offers a lower acuity than emergency rooms. They provide assistance for people with minor medical conditions that require treatment but at a lower cost."
Pediatric group offering alternative to emergency room raises $14 million
PM Pediatrics has raised $14 million from the private equity arm of Scopia Capital Management. The funds are to be used to help PM Pediatrics expand business beyond its nine clinics in New York City and New Jersey and into locations such as South Jersey and Connecticut.
Slip-sliding storm sends folks to the ER, docs say
A massive snowstorm that swept a broad swath of the U.S. Feb. 13, and doctors said those who ventured out were winding up with injuries ranging from broken wrists, arms and legs to spinal fractures and heart attacks from shoveling. At Righttime Medical Care, which operates a chain of urgent care centers in Maryland and elsewhere, Dr. Robert Graw said he'd seen typical injuries caused by bad weather, and also a number of people with concussions caused by hard falls. "They're getting out to their car and slipping," he said. "Or people are taking a walk and they slip on ice because they didn't know it was there."
OrthoCarolina opens new urgent care facilities
OrthoCarolina recently opened its newest orthopedic urgent care center in Monroe, N.C., adding to its other locations across the Charlotte region, which includes Ballantyne, Concord, Matthews, Monroe, University and Uptown. "If you go to the ER, you will most likely be told to follow up with your family doctor. If you go to your family doctor, you may eventually be referred to an orthopedist," said Timothy Pysell, director of physician assistants. "If you choose an OUC, most often you will be seeing the same providers who care for patients in our sub-specialty and general orthopedic surgery offices."
South Kansas City CareSpot is 6th in partnership with HCA Midwest
CareSpot and HCA Midwest Health System continue to broaden access to services with a sixth Kansas City area urgent care center, which opened Feb. 17. The joint venture partnership with HCA Midwest Health system provides a large hospital and physician network if CareSpot patients need specialized or follow-up care. All centers in the area operate as CareSpot in partnership with HCA Midwest Health System.
In retail medicine, opportunity for market share growth
The decision by CVS Caremark to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products in its 7,600 U.S. stores by Oct. 1 could cost the company about $1.5 billion in annual tobacco sales, as well as about $500 million in related sales. The company believes it can generate even more revenue by growing its primary care market share through its retail clinics. Furthermore, Main Line Health, a 1,295-bed health system with $1.4 billion in annual operating revenue based in Bryn Mawr, Pa., signed a deal with CVS Caremark to provide medical direction for their MinuteClinics.
Federal government amends patient access to laboratory test results
By Jessica Belle
Soon patients and patients' personal representatives will be able to obtain copies of completed laboratory test reports directly from laboratories. The Department of Health and Human Services recently released new rules amending the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. This article explains the current rules governing patients' direct access to test results and what will change under the new rules.
Freestanding ED growth continues in Texas
Danbury News Times
First Choice Emergency Room is poised to open its 30th location in Richardson, Texas at the end of February. This move extends the company's presence in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and further perpetuates the freestanding emergency department phenomenon occurring throughout Texas. For additional information regarding the freestanding ED business model and its industry growth, read Alan Ayers' article Emerging Business Models: Freestanding Emergency Rooms.
Humana and Wal-Mart team up to expand healthcare access
San Antonio Business Journal
Humana is working with retail giant Wal-Mart to provide expanded access to healthcare in San Antonio. The company developed three new Humana Health & Well-being Centers to offer an array of healthcare resources and services, including telemedicine suites featuring digital audio and video interaction with physicians who can evaluate, diagnose and treat various medical conditions.
Medical identity theft a growing concern
By Pamela Lewis Dolan
For the first time since The Identity Theft Resource Center started tracking data breaches in 2005, healthcare has topped the list of industries responsible for the largest percentage of data breaches. Of the 614 breaches the ITRC tracked across all sectors and industries last year, healthcare accounted for 43.6 percent. This was the first time in eight years it overtook the business sector, which accounted for 33.9 percent of last year's breaches. The increase in reported healthcare breaches can be partially attributed to the HITECH Act.
| The Urgent Care Association of America is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.