Survey results: Staff cell phone use in UCCs
UCAOA conducted a brief survey on staff cell phone use in urgent care centers during work hours, and results show 76 percent of centers do allow it. Of those centers that allow staff cell phone use, 100 percent have a written policy in place. To see the full survey results, click here.
| Additional Resources: Look back at previous UCAOA mini survey data by accessing Data Insights | Purchase the UCAOA Policy and Procedure Manual, which contains more than 250 sample policies specific to urgent care including cell phone use.
UCAccess reader survey
Every Thursday, UCAccess is delivered to more than 10,000 inboxes. To be able to better meet the needs of urgent care business professionals and clinicians as well as industry and financial representatives, UCAOA is conducting a brief 12-question survey. Please take a couple of minutes to participate in this instrumental survey so that UCAOA can continue to meet the needs of the growing urgent care industry.
Nominations deadline this Friday
Nominations for the candidates for director positions on the UCAOA Board are due Friday, February 27. This is your opportunity to let your voice be heard regarding the candidates you think will best serve the association and the urgent care industry. There are four open director positions, so nominate a candidate now.
Please note UCAOA members need to sign in to access the nomination page.
Round out your convention with special ticketed events
You've made the commitment to come to Chicago for the UCAOA 2015 Spring Convention (April 27-30). Consider rounding out your week and experience some of what Chicago has to offer. The UCAOA Local Arrangements Committee has hand selected a few choice outings to make your convention experience memorable for you and your colleagues or family. Explore a hidden network of paths during the Chicago Pedway Tour, take in a Cubs game at infamous Wrigley Field, view the world's best art at the Chicago Art Institute, or cruise the Chicago River on a boat tour. There are many options available to meet your needs, so be sure to add on a special ticketed event while you're in the Windy City.
Following her opening keynote, presenter Sally Hogshead will present a ticketed breakout session "The 9-Second Personal Brand Anthem Exercise: How to Introduce Yourself With Value." This session builds on lessons learned during the opening keynote and will be held from 10-11am on Tuesday, April 28. This session is limited to 100 participants and is first-come, first-served. Tickets cost $25 each.
Please note if you have not already secured your hotel accommodations at the headquarters hotel please do so now, as the UCAOA discounted room block at the Hyatt Regency Chicago is selling out quickly.
Treading softly around maternity leave
Nearly all urgent care centers eventually have an employee who is pregnant and needs to take a Maternity Leave of Absence (LOA). Scheduling this leave can prompt special concern at busy centers, where staffing is like assembling a jigsaw puzzle while juggling. As with any topic involving the risk of discrimination claims, maternity leave must be handled as carefully as a newborn baby. Pregnancy discrimination is a top area of EEOC enforcement, and the employee almost always wins. In this practice management article, guest blogger Paul Edwards provides tips and insight on how to properly handle maternity leave in your urgent care center. Please note this article is for logged in members only.
Prescribe a quality first impression for urgent care patients
The Ambulatory M&A Advisor
UCAOA members Dr. Peter Lamelas, owner of MD Now Urgent Care and Scott Walter, operations manager of NextCare Urgent Care, offer words of wisdom in this article geared toward maximizing opportunities in a consumer-driven market. Both agree that a first impression is everything. Dr. Lamelas states he employs training strategies based on the Ritz-Carlton School of Customer Service to ensure a positive patient experience in his centers.
Opinion: Why freestanding, physician- or investor-owned emergency departments may be bad for emergency medicine
In this opinion piece by Ronald A. Hellstern, MD, he expresses concern regarding the rapid growth of freestanding EDs in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex; many of which, may not reach the required break even number of visits per day (12) to stay in business. Dr. Hellstern continues to say that FSEDs are an extremely inefficient use of capital and emergency physician manpower. "The healthcare system is crying out for less duplication of services and greater efficiency in the use of expensive resources, the boom in physician/investor-owned freestandings appears to be moving the needle the other way," Dr. Hellstern said.
Open Enrollment closes with 11.4 million consumers
UCAOA via CMS
The second year of Open Enrollment came to a close (Feb. 15) with about 11.4 million consumers selecting plans or being automatically re-enrolled through the HealthCare.gov platform or State-based Marketplaces. Of the 11.4 million, 8.6 million consumers selected a plan or were automatically re-enrolled in the 37 states that use the HealthCare.gov platform. In the 37 states using HealthCare.gov, nearly 8 in 10 consumers had the option of getting covered for as little as $100 a month or less with financial assistance that lowered the cost of their monthly premium.
Remember that CMS has lots of resources for consumers who have recently enrolled in health insurance. Coverage to Care Materials can be found here. Videos and printed materials are available and would be a great addition to waiting rooms. Additionally, CMS is sharing three new tax related announcements:
1) Tax Special Enrollment Period — CMS announced a special enrollment period (SEP) for individuals and families who did not have health coverage 2014 and are subject to the fee or “shared responsibility payment” when they file their 2014 taxes in states with a federal Marketplace. Visit Healthcare.gov for more information.
2) Exemption tool — individuals who could not afford coverage or met other conditions may be eligible to receive an exemption. To help consumers who did not have insurance last year determine if they qualify for an exemption, CMS launched a health coverage tax exemption tool.
3) Corrected 1095A forms — CMS is working to correct some 1095-A forms issued by the Federally-facilitated Marketplace that included incorrect information. For more information go to Healthcare.gov or visit the blog.
Build your brand through followers
Social media is now a permanent component of most marketing strategies, but are your social media feeds accurately portraying your brand? Are you engaging your followers and using your accounts regularly? These are questions to consider when managing social media platforms. Social media is embedded in our personal and professional communications. Statistics show that the average American spends 37 minutes per day using social networks such as Facebook (829 million users), Twitter (271 million users) and LinkedIn (300 million users). If you’re not on social media, you’re missing the chance to get your brand in front of millions of prospective consumers for free. Set a goal for your 2015 marketing strategies to incorporate social media and use these quick tips to get started:
Experiment with social media. Don’t be afraid to try different images, hashtags, and questions to engage your audience.
Plan out your posts. You can do this weekly or just take an hour out of the day to plan posts for your platforms. Social media is about content, so put your best foot forward. You can schedule posts directly on Facebook and Twitter has an application called Tweetdeck that allows you to schedule and analyze posts.
Be consistent and active. Don’t let your social media accounts become dormant. Continue to monitor and engage your audience with diverse content (questions, statistics, photos, etc.)
Be Flexible. The rules of social media can and will change. You have to be in tune with your audience and be willing to change to meet their needs.
Share and follow others. If you’re short on content ideas, look to your fellow organizations. Follow them and engage through their posts. Sharing content from other organizations can lead to more followers for you, which can convert to consumers of you brand.
If you're looking to get started with social media or want to expand your audience, be sure to follow UCAOA on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn (we’ll follow you back!) UCAOA encourages professional engagement and using our urgent-care specific resources to create awareness of the industry. Learn more social media tips with UCAOA's soon-to-be-released media toolkit, which will be free for members. If you're not a member, become one today!
| Additional Resource: Are you a UCAOA member doing great things? Let us know about it by emailing email@example.com and send any photos you may have.
MedSpring Urgent Care plans to expand operations into Washington D.C.
MedSpring Urgent Care recently announced its plans to expand operations into the Washington D.C. area in late 2015. MedSpring currently operates 19 centers in Austin, Chicago, Dallas, and Houston with additional locations under construction. Last December, MedSpring also announced its partnership with Massachusetts-based Partners Healthcare to open and operate several locations in the greater Boston area under the name Partners Urgent Care.
Righttime Medical Care participates in the Concussion Consortium
Righttime Medical Care was one of several dozen healthcare, athletic and education professionals that participated last month in a conference for the HeadFirst Concussion Consortium to discuss post-concussive dizziness in pediatric and adults patients with mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI). “Understanding the enormous complexity of managing patients with symptoms of dizziness allows us to better communicate with our community healthcare providers,” said Robert G. Graw, Jr., MD, CEO of Righttime Medical Care and HeadFirst Sports Injury and Concussion Care.
Are hospital and health system mergers falling out of favor?
In the newly released HealthLeaders Media Intelligence Report, "The M&A and Partnership Mega-Trend," 44 percent of respondents said their most recent deal was either a merger (10 percent) or an acquisition (34 percent). Close behind, however, was the 38 percent who said they pursued "a contractual relationship, but not M&A." Despite the difficulty of merging cultures, overcoming regulatory or legislative hurdles, or the time and effort needed to complete the transaction, M&A can still be highly effective.
| Additional Resources: Look for the M&A panels held at the UCAOA 2015 Spring Convention on Tuesday, April 28, 2015: from 3:15 to 4:15pm, Mergers & Acquisitions: Buy and Sell Panel and from 4:30 to 5:30pm (Hospital-Affiliated Focus) Mergers & Acquisitions: Hospital Joint Ventures Panel
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.