UCAOA responds to New York Times article with a letter to the editor
Last week's edition of UCAccess included The New York Times article, "As Hospital Prices Soar, a Stitch Tops $500." This article highlighted the rising cost of emergency room care across the United States but did not offer cost-effective alternatives such as urgent care. As a result, UCAOA responded last week with a letter to the editor from UCAOA Board President, Dr. Nathan Newman. Below is a copy of that letter; we will continue to keep you abreast of any response.
We applaud The New York Times for bringing attention to the ever-rising cost of ER visits ("As Hospital Prices Soar, a Stitch Tops $500" – Dec. 2). However, we were surprised the article did not mention a well-established ER alternative: urgent care.
Certainly, there are instances when an ER visit is necessary. We envision a healthcare system in which primary care, ERs and urgent care work together to provide the best possible care for our patients.
More than 160 million patients visit urgent care centers each year to treat many of the non-emergency events mentioned in this article. Beyond the flexibility and convenience of urgent care, patients are also attracted to its affordability. According to Concentra, the average cost of a visit to an urgent care center is $100-150, while ER visits cost on average $750-1,250.
With chronic ER overcrowding, rising healthcare costs, a doctor shortage and millions of newly-insured Americans coming to market, the demand of urgent care will only continue to rise. It's time urgent care be recognized for its critically important role in the healthcare delivery system.
Facility design: Private physician offices, or not?
Should an urgent care center provide private, enclosed offices for its medical providers? What about only for its medical director? Profitable urgent care centers must balance the need to optimize space when paying retail rents, foster collaboration among providers and staff to speed patient flow, comply with HIPAA and minimize the risk of HR-related problems and recruit/retain quality providers. Whether a center provides closed-door offices is an important question that touches all of these issues. Alan Ayers, MBA, MAcc, UCAOA Board Member and Content Advisor, explores the advantages and disadvantages of private physician offices and demonstrates that the trend is toward open work spaces in team-oriented environments.
Please note: Alan Ayers' blog has been reformatted and moved to allow for better access and group interaction. Join this networking group to receive articles and updates as well as to post comments.
Registration is open for UCAOA's National Urgent Care Convention
UCAOA's 10th National Urgent Care Convention is well regarded by the urgent care industry for its high-quality clinical and practice management courses, numerous networking and career development opportunities, and expansive exhibitions that showcase innovative products, technologies and services. This year's educational offerings and events have been expanded to now offer attendees even more options:
Click here to learn more about all the events and educational offerings at the National Urgent Care Convention. Be sure to register by Jan. 10 to save $100 on tuition by using promo code: 14Spring.
- Eight Pre-Convention Courses
- An exciting opening address and keynote by James Kane
- 44 practice management sessions
- 34 basic and advanced clinical sessions
- Hospital-affiliated sessions
- Healthcare reform sessions
- An expansive exhibit hall (booth spaces are still available)
- A 10th anniversary awards and closing general session
- And much more!
Providers should be cognizant of patient perceptions
When a clinician is in an exam room consultation with a patient, the patient should sit on the exam table and the physician should sit on the stool. Looking down at the provider puts the patient in a dominant position, allowing the patient to feel greater control over the encounter. This alleviates stress, empowers the patient to ask questions and leads to better patient perceptions of the encounter. In addition, when conducting the physical examination, the provider should make some physical contact (touch) with the patient. Otherwise, a touchless physical may cause offense or doubt in the patient's mind. At all times during the encounter the provider should be cognizant of the patient's potential perceptions of the provider's words, positioning and movement in the room, and non-verbal communication.
If you have tips or advice to share regarding clinic or practice management, patient care, marketing, technology or 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 police officer arrives at an urgent care center with a handcuffed, bloodied prisoner, who he says spit on him during an altercation. The suspect is an IV drug abuser and the officer wants a "blood test" to determine if the man is HIV-positive; if he is, the officer wants prophylaxis to prevent seroconversion. The suspect refuses the test. What should the urgent care provider do? The answer to that question is the subject of this month's cover story — Part 2 of our series on urgent care management of needlestick injuries. In this installment, authors Maya Heck, MS-2 and John Shufeldt, MD, JD, MBA, FACEP review definitions of HIV transmission risk, HIV post-exposure prophylaxis, and appropriate steps to follow for managing needlestick injuries based on the latest U.S. Public Health Service guidelines. To read "Urgent Care Management of Needlestick Injuries: Part 2," turn to page 9 JUCM online (or in print).
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.
Dr. William Gluckman nominated among New Jersey's favorite kids' docs
New Jersey Family
Congratulations to UCAOA Board Member and UCCOP Board President, William Gluckman, DO, MBA, FACEP, on being nominated as the 2013 favorite kids' doctor for emergency medicine by the readers of New Jersey Family.
For Gutmans, goal is to keep patients out of ER
Hartford Business Journal
A trip to the emergency room for a broken bone or other non-life threatening issue often leads to hours-long waits and an unpleasant experience for many patients. Dr. Michael Gutman and his wife, Yahel Gutman, a nurse, are trying to improve that experience by allowing patients to bypass the ER altogether.
CareSpot opens fourth Kansas City-area urgent care center on Dec. 9
The fourth CareSpot urgent care center in partnership with HCA Midwest Health System opened on Dec. 9 at 9507 Antioch Road in Overland Park, Kan. This opening also marks the second CareSpot location in Overland Park, complementing the other center at 7935 W. 151st St.
Norton Immediate Care Centers offer call ahead service
The Courier Journal
People planning to visit Norton Immediate Care Centers can now call ahead to find out the best time to arrive. The call ahead service also directs patients to the closest immediate care center and is designed to reduce waiting room stays. The service is available at all 12 immediate care locations, including those in Bullitt County and southern Indiana.
Urgent Care of Connecticut to open clinic in Groton
Urgent Care of Connecticut has announced plans to open a clinic in February in Groton, Conn., just four months after opening its first clinic in eastern Connecticut in Norwich. The Brookfield-based for-profit chain has seven other clinics throughout the state. The company said it foresees rapid expansion over the next 12 to 18 months as the need for urgent care services continues to grow.
In reform era, retail clinics become part of the healthcare delivery system
A contract between Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System and MinuteClinic, a division of CVS Caremark Corp., is one example of how retail clinics are becoming a larger part of the healthcare delivery system in Southeast Michigan to meet an expected increase in patient demand next year under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care acts.
Healthcare's third-party spending trap
Many doctors will gladly substantially discount their fees in return for up-front payments from people who pay directly for their healthcare. Hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers and urgent care clinics do the same. Why shouldn't they? They don't have to pay an army of staff to fill reams of forms and wait weeks to months to collect payment from an insurance company that sometimes is lower than what they get from their direct-pay patients.
10 things emergency rooms won't tell you
In this article, MarketWatch details 10 reasons why it takes so long to receive treatment and costs so much to get care in the emergency room. Reasons one through 10 shed light on such items as wait times, staff cleanliness, use of electronic health records, pricing of tests and procedures and others. UCAOA is mentioned on page 9, which highlights urgent care as a cheaper alternative to ER care.
Why is Walgreens teaming up with SSM Health Care?
St. Louis Business Journal
As healthcare providers continue their race to build urgent care center locations in St. Louis, SSM Health Care has decided to expand, but not by investing millions in bricks and mortar. Instead, it will partner with Walgreens. Teaming with Walgreens means that beginning in January, SSM's urgent care footprint will expand to 16 centers virtually overnight. Walgreens' 12 area Healthcare Clinics will be added to SSM's operations.
| The Urgent Care Association of America is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.