The UCA leadership and Health and Public Policy Committee are working together to educate Congress and other key health care policymakers on the urgent care industry.



Washington Updates

Thank you for your intereste in the UCA Virtual Lobby Day, March 3, 2021! Below are the top priorities for the urgent care industry, some tips and talking points that you can use during your visits with members of Congress and staffers.

In the following link you will get important infomation on the following:

What can I expect during a virtual meeting?

What is your key message during your visit?

How should you follow up after the visit?

What are the TOP Priorities for UCA Lobby Day

Download the Talking Points and Priorities PDF

For more information or additional Urgent Care resources please visit follow this link.


The Urgent Care Association (UCA) is working hard to bring urgent care centers front and center during the COVID-19 federal response and health care provider relief efforts and recommends to these organizations that urgent care centers be included in ongoing and future testing strategies, as well as future vaccination strategies: American Academy of Family Physicians; American College of Emergency Physicians; National Governor’s Association; Office of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Office of Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee; Office of Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Member, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee; Republican Staff for the Senate Finance Committee (8/4); Office of Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Member, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (8/4); and the American Telemedicine Association (8/12).
The Urgent Care Association (UCA) held its first-ever Capitol Hill briefing on November 13 to educate congressional staff on role of urgent care centers in health care delivery, and specifically how urgent care centers can help stop the spread of influenza through immediate treatment with symptom onset, as well as by providing vaccinations. Read more.
Effective Jan. 1, 2020, urgent care centers who are UCA Certificed or Accredited to receive an additional $76.50 for the care of new injured or ill workers. The change to recognize UCA Accreditation follows a letter sent in August by UCA to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment asking that urgent care centers be accredited or certified by UCA to be recognized for a separate facility payment. You can learn more about UCA accreditation and certification on our website, or reach out to Brian Gaddis at 630-544-6535. We are pleased that UCA’s programs were recognized and look forward to assisting you in achieving or maintaining these levels of distinction. Continue reading here.
Effective Jan. 1, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin its “educational and operations testing period” for the Medicare Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) Program for advanced diagnostic imaging tests. The AUC Program was established by the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 and requires consultation and documentation by physicians and other health care professionals of AUC for advanced imaging services ordered for Medicare beneficiaries. Advanced diagnostic imaging includes computed tomography (CT); positron emission tomography (PET); nuclear medicine, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The law mandated that the program begin in 2017; however, it has been difficult for CMS to operationalize because of the manner in which the law is written. The law requires all physicians and practitioners (with exceptions for emergency and inpatient services) to consult AUC using a qualified Clinical Decision Support Mechanism (CDSM) at the time an advanced diagnostic imaging service is ordered for a Medicare beneficiary. The CDSM provides a determination of whether the order adheres to AUC, or if the AUC consulted was not applicable. Upon consulting AUC, the ordering professional must provide the following information to furnishing professionals and facilities: ordering professional’s NPI; which CDSM was consulted; and whether the service ordered would or would not adhere to consulted AUC or whether consulted AUC was not applicable to the service ordered. This information, in turn, must be reported on the furnishing professional’s Medicare claim to be paid for the test. Continue reading here.
On July 1, the Urgent Care Association sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) asking that UCA Accreditation be recognized as an improvement activity under Medicare’s Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). Physicians and other eligible clinicians who participate in MIPS earn points across four performance categories: Quality, Cost, Improvement Activities and Advancing Care Information. Through its advocacy, UCA strives to make MIPS more relevant to clinicians who are eligible to participate in the program. For the first time this year, clinicians who practice in urgent care centers can choose to submit quality measures from an urgent care specialty measure set. In doing so, they must submit data on at least six measures within that set. Explore MIPS quality measures here. To earn full credit in the Improvement Activities performance category, MIPS participants must achieve 40 points (or 20 points for groups with 15 or fewer clinicians) through a combination of attesting to one or more activities. If CMS accepts UCA accreditation as an eligible improvement activity, the earliest it would be included in the program would be the 2021 performance year. More information about MIPS, including participation requirements, can be found here.
As Congress considers legislation to to protect patients from surprise medical bills, UCA is asking Congress to require free-standing emergency departments to be more transparent by disclosing up front that they are not urgent care centers and that like a hospital emergency department, a facility fee may be charged. See the full letters here and here. In its letter to congressional lawmakers, UCA highlights that confusion between free-standing EDs and urgent care centers is evidenced by a Texas study that found a 75 percent overlap in the 20 most common diagnoses at freestanding EDs versus urgent care centers and a 60 percent overlap for hospital-based EDs and urgent care centers. UCA argues that by requiring more transparency, patients can make more informed decisions on where to seek care, with the potential for lower out-of-pocket costs and savings to the health care system overall.
The Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) will launch its urgent care benefit, as required by law, on June 6, 2019. To make this benefit widely accessible to veterans, VA contractors are working under a tight timeline to build their urgent care provider network. TriWest, which administers the VA’s Patient-Centered Community Care (PC3) program and the Veterans Choice Program (VCP) (which ends on June 6, 2019), has requested UCA's assistance in actively soliciting urgent care providers to join the TriWest network. The MISSION Act, enacted into law last year, requires coverage of “walk-in care” for non-emergent care for eligible veterans. Specifically, the law requires the VA to develop procedures to ensure veterans are able to access walk-in care from qualifying non-Department entities or providers. Final regulations are still under review at the Office of Management and Budget. Details related to UCA advocacy and how to enroll with TriWest if you are not already contracted can be found here.
(March 7, 2019): Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) is looking for ideas for lowering the cost of health care. On March 1, the Urgent Care Association (UCA) responded, offering urgent care centers as a cost-effective alternative to hospital emergency departments and free-standing emergency departments for non-emergent illness and injuries. In its letter, UCA suggested that the lack of price transparency and inadequate Medicaid rates, especially in rural and under-served areas, serve as a barrier to urgent care access, and, consequently, to achieving health care savings.  UCA’s response can be read here.
(August 1, 2018): Massachusetts was looking for ways to support struggling community health services and with little warning urgent care centers and retail clinics were in the crosshairs. The Massachusetts House had proposed an 8.75% tax on commercially billed charges (versus receivables). H.4639 would have been devastating to an urgent care industry that, according to the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission, had reduced ED traffic by 30%. The Senate language was far more reasonable and did not impose a tax. We are pleased to report that on July 31, the Massachusetts Legislature adjourned for the year without reaching consensus, ensuring that no bill would be forwarded to the Governor. In late June, the North East Urgent Care Association (NERUCA), a UCA Chapter, and the Urgent Care Association (UCA) moved into action to defeat the tax and other provisions that would have upended the urgent care industry in Massachusetts and would have set a troubling national precedent. Read the full story here.
(July 23, 2018): On July 17, NERUCA President and UCA Health and Public Policy (H&PP) Committee member John Kulin, DO and NERUCA Government Affairs Chair and UCA H&PP member Jonathan Halpert, MD, FACEP led a team of urgent care representatives at the Massachusetts State House where they lobbied against House Bill H4639. This bill would levy an 8.75 percent tax on urgent care charges billed to commercial payers, as well as impose highly restrictive licensing requirements and an ill-suited definition of urgent care. If enacted, these provisions would deal a devastating blow to the Massachusetts urgent care industry and set a troubling precedent for the urgent care industry nationally. The team included Shaun Ginter, MBA (Carewell UC), Lynne Rosen (PhysicianOne UC), James Jarrett (CareWell UC), Brian Cruz, MD (PhysicianOne UC), and Max Puyanic (ConvenientMD). The group was supported by UCA CEO Laurel Stoimenoff, PT, CHC, James Brennan (AFC UC), Camille Bonta, MHS (Summit Health Care Consulting, UCA), and Anthony Abdelahad Esq. (Ventry Associates, AFC UC). Read more about their advocacy here.
(July 19, 2018): On July 17, UCA and its chapter, the Northeast Regional Urgent Care Association, NERUCA, collaborated in an effort to defeat House bill H.4639, described as “An Act to Enhance Access to High Quality, Affordable and Transparent Healthcare”. A number of organizations stepped up to represent Massachusetts urgent care, including CareWell Urgent Care, Physician One, Doctors Express-Braintree, Doctors Express-Springfield, and Convenient MD. NERUCA representatives including Jonathan Halpert, MD, FACEP, Government Affairs, and John Kulin, D.O., Board President, were also in attendance. The representatives, had multiple meetings with the lawmakers to voice their concern on the urgent care-related provisions in H.4639; specifically on an 8.75% tax on charges and licensing of urgent care centers. NERUCA and UCA partnered to author a letter. to the conferee members, emphasizing our collective opposition to proposed legislation which we believe will increase costs, limit access to care. Passage of the bill would devastate the urgent care industry in Massachusetts and would set a worrisome precedent that could take hold nationally.
(July 4, 2018): Legislation is currently pending in the Massachusetts state legislature that would impose new cost and regulatory burdens on urgent care centers and threaten patient access. The Act to Enhance Access to High Quality, Affordable and Transparent Healthcare (H.4639 — originally introduced as H.4617). would negatively affect Massachusetts urgent care centers. It is the opinion of the Urgent Care Association and its chapter, the North East Regional Urgent Care Association (NERUCA), that this legislation, if enacted, would be detrimental not only to the bottom line of urgent care centers but to timely patient access to acute care. Opposition to these changes are supported by the findings published in a 2015 report issued by the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission. That report found that a high share of emergency department visits in the state stem from limited access to care after normal operating hours of the physician’s office. The report also found that the presence of a retail or urgent care clinic in its communities reduced use of emergency departments by 30 percent. NERUCA and UCA are collaborating with other parties to address this legislation that has a alarmingly narrow definition of urgent care, established urgent care centers as ‘facilities’ with a host or associated reporting responsibilities, and imposes an 8.75% assessment/ tax on non-ACO affiliated urgent care and retail clinic revenue. As members of UCA, the Association wishes to notify all members so that everyone is aware of this proposed legislation in Massachusetts with hopes that this unprecedented legislation will be stopped and not be picked up in other states. Massachusetts urgent care stakeholders, please: Contact your lawmakers. and make your voice heard in opposition to H.4639. Additionally, if you have any questions or want more information, do not hesitate to contact Jonathan Halpert, MD at jhalpert@neruca.org.
(June 14, 2018): The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently restored the ability to search for a certified medical examiners by name, business name, city and state, and zip code, as well as the functionality that allows health care providers to become certified to conduct physical qualification examinations. Individuals interested in becoming a certified medical examiner must first complete the required training. Please read more about completing the required training here.
(June 7, 2018): On June 6, President Trump signed into law a bill that authorizes and expands veterans’ access to private health care, including “walk-in care” for non-emergent care — access the Urgent Care Association (UCA) has been urging lawmakers to provide. Specifically, the MISSION ACT, requires under Section 105 that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) develop procedures to ensure veterans are able to access walk-in care from qualifying non-Department entities or providers. To provide care to qualifying veterans, an entity or provider would be be required to enter into a contract with the VA. Read more.
(May 6, 2018): On May 8, the House Veterans Affairs Committee approved the VA Mission Act of 2018. Among the items in the bill is continued funding for the VA Choice Program. Without action by Congress, the VA Choice Program will run out of money this summer — as early as mid-June. Here is the letter that Clay Higgins wrote as a member of Congress to express his concern. Send your thoughts, ideas and experiences to Nirja Shah at nshah@ucaoa.org.
(May 4, 2018): UCA submitted comments to the the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies on proposed network adequacy standards that would take effect on July 1, 2018. In it's letter, UCA offered a revised definition of urgent care facilities to better distinguish between retail clinics, free-standing emergency departments and urgent care centers. Please read more of the letter here.
(April 12, 2018): In a letter to members of the Missouri General Assembly, the Urgent Care Association (UCA) and the Health & Public Policy Committee offered support of pending legislation that would encourage, but not require, primary care providers and urgent care physicians to inquire of new patients whether they are registered with the bone marrow registry. If a patient is not registered, the health care provider would provide information about the bone marrow registry. In its letter of support, UCA emphasized the importance of giving health care providers flexibility to voluntarily support initiatives to increase the number of potential bone marrow donors. The legislation has passed the Missouri House and is now pending in the Senate. Please read more of the letter here.
(March 26, 2018): The FDA recently released their draft, “Select Updates for Recommendations for Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) Waiver Applications for Manufacturers of In Vitro Diagnostic Devices.” UCA has joined with other organizations and commented on the draft to state that the FDA needs to remove its proposed discussion of accuracy and focus on the relevant question for the guidance – whether trained and untrained users will get comparable results when using the same to-be-waived test. Congress has said that if a diagnostic test allows trained and untrained users to get comparable results, and the test is simple, it is entitled to a waiver. FDA’s guidance needs to reflect Congress’s intent, and recognize – as Congress has – the value of expanded access to new and innovative CLIA-waived tests. You can view the full submission here.
(March 7, 2018): In response to proposed language in CT S.B. 303, the Urgent Care Association (UCA) collaborated with its members in the state of CT and its Chapter, the Northeast Regional Urgent Care Association (NERUCA), by submitting testimony to the Connecticut Public Health Committee on the definition of an urgent care center. This was a joint effort to eliminate public confusion and more clearly define the scope of services in a UCC. Read more.