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Author: UCA Admin/Tuesday, April 21, 2020/Categories: Industry News
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2020
Warrenville, IL — Today the Urgent Care Association (UCA) delivered a petition to Congress and the Trump Administration with more than 3,000 signatures of urgent care providers and employees asking for relief as urgent care centers struggle to remain open.
Health care providers and employees of urgent care centers in every state plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico signed the petition which asks that urgent care centers be explicitly included in any additional relief, including emergency grants and low-interest loans, directed toward health care providers.
“Urgent care centers are on the front lines of this pandemic, but may not be available for their communities as this public health crisis continues, or when it ends,” said Richard Park, MD, UCA Board of Directors and co-founder of CityMD. “CityMD has more than 100 locations in New York and New Jersey, but we have had to close some of those locations to conserve staff and supplies,” said Dr. Park. “To date, urgent care centers have received precious little support. To continue to serve our communities, we need that to change.”
Urgent care centers, like hospitals, have struggled to acquire necessary personal protective equipment and COVID-19 tests as they fight to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and protect the local population they serve. According to a UCA survey of its members conducted the week of April 13, 69 percent are providing COVID-19 testing; however, 38 percent report they don’t have tests to meet demand. At least 46 percent say access to personal protective equipment remains problematic, particularly N-95 masks, gowns, and face protectors.
“If COVID-19 testing is the answer to re-opening the economy, then so is keeping the doors of urgent care centers open to administer those tests,” said John Kulin, DO, Immediate Past President of the North East Regional Urgent Care Association and CEO of the Urgent Care Group in New Jersey. “To ensure that, we need the support of the federal government.”
The UCA reports urgent care centers are experiencing a 58.5 percent drop in volume on average compared to a year ago. Typically open seven days a week for walk-in care, urgent care centers are part of the solution yet struggling to keep their doors open. The Paycheck Protection Program has been a source of relief for some urgent care centers, and additional funding for the program is needed. However, urgent care centers, like physician practices, could benefit from additional flexibilities on the use of those funds.
Urgent care centers are a common site of service for patients who are uninsured, under-insured or with high-deductible plans, with self-pay patients representing roughly seven percent of total urgent care visits. Most urgent care centers have programs that offer discounts for cash payments.
“Urgent care centers are bracing for an influx of patients who will become medically homeless as a result of becoming unemployed and losing their health insurance during this pandemic,” said Roger Hicks, MD, Medical Director of Yubadocs Urgent Care located in northern California and former UCA Director and Founding President of the California Urgent Care Association (CalUCA). “Urgent care centers are asking that some of the remaining $70 billion of the Provider Relief Fund be directed to them so they can continue to serve the most medically vulnerable.”
About the Urgent Care Association
The Urgent Care Association (UCA) is a membership association of leaders, providers and suppliers in the field of on-demand, consumer-focused healthcare. UCA advances the industry and supports member success through advocacy, research, education, collaboration and high standards of care. The association maintains an active online presence and member community for daily exchange of best practices. For more information, visit https://www.ucaoa.org/.
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