UC Access July 12, 2012
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UCAOA Patient Resources Clinical Consult JUCM Industry News


2012 Benchmarking Survey
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UCAOA's Urgent Care Benchmarking Survey is THE industry resource for benchmarking data. Our last survey was in 2010, so it's time for all of us to see how our industry is doing, and what our new benchmarks are going to be. We've contracted with Anderson, Niehbuhr & Associates, Inc. to administer the survey this year. An invitation (from them) to participate will go out on Friday, July 13 (tomorrow).

You know you love to see the data when it comes out – but the only way it's good data is if everyone does the hard work of participating. In 2010 — out of 1700 organizations invited, only 209 centers contributed to the results. Surely we can hit 500 centers this year. If you get an invitation, complete the survey!

First, a new logo ... next ...
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You've been introduced to the new UCAOA logo — now stay tuned for our new website! We're currently redesigning www.ucaoa.org to make it easier for you to find what you're looking for.

Interested in "kicking the tires" before the updated site goes live? We need a few volunteers to let us know what they like/dislike about it. Please email Laura to be part of the beta group!

Industry Awareness Campaign

Calling all campaign participants ...
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Has your center taken advantage of the free, customizable urgent care awareness materials yet? If the answer's no ... what are you waiting for?! The toolkit, artwork and templates are available to everyone that's interested in spreading the word about urgent care.

For example, Missouri-based Our Urgent Care used the templates to print fliers and create a direct mail campaign for its three centers.

If your center has created a direct mail piece, poster, print ad, email blast, online banner ad, sticker, banner, flyer, T-shirt (the list goes on) ... please let us know! We'd love to see more examples of the campaign in action.

If you haven't checked out the campaign materials, don't delay! Visit www.ucaoa.org/rhyme to download the files.

Practice Management

Engaging Providers in the Patient Experience
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In his July article, Alan Ayers, UCAOA's Practice Management Content Advisor, illustrates how a positive patient experience goes a long way toward building and maintaining a successful urgent care practice. Key takeaway: Patients care about both clinical quality and service satisfaction and don't necessarily differentiate between the two. Click here to read the article!


Now Online in JUCM
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A new urgent care Images Challenge case is now available only online in JUCM. Review the case of a 9-year-old girl with a blow to her hand and view the image taken. Consider what your diagnosis would be, then check the case resolution to see if you were right. To take the Images Challenge, click here.

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 editor@jucm.com for information on our author guidelines.

Industry News

Urgent care visits to soar due to Affordable Care Act
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Urgent care visits will likely see a considerable boost due to the Supreme Court ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. "Although urgent care isn't specifically mentioned anywhere in the legislation, the open access that all urgent care centers have should make them a natural entry point for the newly insured — especially in areas where many primary care practices aren't accepting new patients," says Lou Ellen Horwitz, executive director of the Urgent Care Association of America. More

89 new ACOs open for business
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Federal officials announced that 89 accountable care organizations opened in 40 states and Washington, D.C., and will serve 1.2 million Medicare beneficiaries. The 89 new ACOs bring to 154 the total number of provider groups in the voluntary Medicare shared savings initiatives. More

Insurer-hospital venture paves way toward accountable care
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A joint venture between Aetna and Virginia hospital system Inova introduces a new way that payers, hospitals and physicians can relate to one another as delivery and payment systems continue to shift. More

EHRs: It will get better
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Of the many changes that have occurred in our healthcare system, one that particularly affects most providers is the advent of electronic health records. Although hospitals have been charting electronically for years, medical offices have not been as quick to adopt this initiative. However, due to changes in the business of healthcare, medical offices are now seeking out acceptable and affordable EHR programs and receiving incentives to implement them. More

MedPAC: Physicians should have more freedom to coordinate care
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Physicians must be given flexibility in how they participate in new Medicare payment models for care coordination efforts to be successful, according to a report by a congressional advisory panel. Recent government studies have shown most Medicare demonstrations on coordinating care have failed to improve patient outcomes and produce cost savings. However, some models have proven to raise the quality of care and lower program spending, according to a recent Medicare Payment Advisory Commission's annual report. More

Study: Medicaid patients not using emergency room for routine care
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Policymakers frequently point to Medicaid patients high use of the emergency room for routine care as one factor driving up healthcare costs. There's just one problem with that claim: A new study finds it's not true. The majority of Medicaid visits to the emergency room are for urgent or serious issues, according to research published by the Center for Studying Health System Change. More

Program aims to relieve ER headaches, sends patients to urgent care
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A pilot program in Greenville County, S.C., is using special software to triage low-acuity calls to a nurse who can assess the situation and determine the best course of action. Under the new system, emergency medical services will be dispatched immediately for chest pain and other true emergencies and patients transported to the ER, officials said. In many cases, the patient would be directed to a primary care physician taking new patients, an urgent care facility or other providers. More

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