| As 2013 comes to a close, UCAOA would like to wish its members, partners and other industry professionals a safe and happy holiday season. As we reflect on the past year for the industry, we would like to provide the readers of Urgent Care Access a look at the most accessed articles from the year. Our regular publication will resume Jan. 3.
New heart warning for popular Z-Pak antibiotics
From March 14: An antibiotic used to treat common infections may carry serious heart risks, according to a new warning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The drug, called azithromycin but sold under the brand names Zithromax and Zmax as Z-Pak capsules, is prescribed for infections of the ears, lungs, sinuses, skin, throat and reproductive organs, according to the FDA. But the antibiotic can interfere with the heart's electrical activity, disturbing its rhythm with potentially fatal consequences. Watch the video.
HIPAA gets tougher on physicians
American Medical News
From Feb. 7: A revised set of federal privacy rules is expected to have a significant impact on the way physicians run their practices. Revised privacy notices will need to be displayed in prominent areas of doctors' offices and on practices' websites. Patients will be able to ask for copies of their electronic health records or restrict the information given to health plans if they self-pay for services. And perhaps most important, practices might be subject to serious fines if any of their business associates cause security breaches.
Solving primary care physician shortage by turning PCPs into anesthesiologists
From Feb. 21: Are there really too few primary care physicians? And if so, what can we do to solve the PCP shortage? The standard answer to the first question is "yes, we have too few PCPs." And the standard solution is to train more such docs, or allow more foreign-trained primary care docs into the country or, better yet, simply pay PCPs more money, so that graduating medical students will be more likely to pursue such careers. Article's author has a different set of answers. To the first question, of whether we have a PCP shortage, my answer is: "Maybe yes, but very possibly no."
25 things to know about urgent care
Becker's Hospital Review
From Aug. 29: Urgent care centers — walk-in medical clinics that treat minor conditions such as sprains and colds, as well as conduct imaging and blood tests — have seen significant growth in recent years. Their lower costs compared with emergency departments and easy access have attracted both patients and investors as the industry looks for lower-cost options and resources to care for the nearly 30 million patients who will soon gain health insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Click here to see 25 Things to Know about Urgent Care from Becker's Hospital Review.
Will urgent care facilities become norm in age of Obamacare?
From Dec. 5: Will private, convenient, accessible walk-in facilities become the new standard in healthcare in the era of Obamacare? Watch this Fox News video highlighting UCAOA member Dr. Louise Moody and Secure Medical Care in Maryland.
8 principles for improving your urgent care operation
From Oct. 10: What is the recipe for success in urgent care? In this month's practice management article, Alan A. Ayers, MBA, MAcc, UCAOA Content Advisor and Board Member, describes eight basic principles for improving the patient experience, holding management and staff accountable for results and raising awareness of the center in the community.
ECG worthwhile for pre-sports check-up
From April 25: Screening students before participation in sports with an electrocardiogram to pick up potentially deadly cardiac problems is worthwhile, two European studies argued.
How many chief complaints during an urgent care visit?
From April 25: A question that frequently arises is how many medical complaints (i.e. sinusitis, rash, sore elbow) should an urgent care provider treat in one encounter. While all complaints should be evaluated relative to the "chief complaint" to rule out any systemic issues, whether the provider requires subsequent visits for additional conditions entails weighing patient expectations, provider's time and capacity, payer reimbursement and patient satisfaction. Read more.
Practices predict losing money, staying independent
From May 23: More than a third of physicians predict their practices will be less profitable (36 percent) in the coming year rather than more (22 percent), according to a new survey of 5,012 physicians from technology company CareCloud and physician-education platform QuantiaMD.
Cash-only doctors abandon the insurance system
From June 21: Fed up with declining payments and rising red tape, a small but growing number of doctors is opting out of the insurance system completely. They're expecting patients to pony up with cash. Some doctors who have gone that route love it, saying they can spend more time with and provide higher-quality care to their patients. Health advocates are skeptical, worrying that only the wealthy will benefit from this system.
| The Urgent Care Association of America is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.