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Be sure and watch for insights from UCA CEO Laurel Stoimenoff, PT, CHC. Each month, Laurel shares insights on our industry, activities affecting urgent care, and information on UCA advocacy efforts and other events.


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2018—A Look in the Rear-View Mirror

Posted By Laurel Stoimenoff, Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Recently while sitting in a restaurant, I noticed a sign declaring, “Good price, good quality, good service. Pick any two.” The uniqueness of the urgent care model is you get all three. The value provided by the 8,700+ centers across the country is arguably the best in medicine. Yet we must relentlessly communicate that value. As I was told years ago, “If you don’t toot your own horn, someone will use it is as a spittoon.”


If patients, employers, health plans, legislators, and other stakeholders don’t perceive urgent and on-demand care as a high-value service, the solutions we provide will be ignored, stifled, and spittooned.


The Urgent Care Association (UCA) recently reflected on the value we bring. The Board convened and contemplated, “Who do we serve first and foremost?” Discussion ensued, but all agreed that our primary customer is our members. Our fundamental job is to support you and your success. It is the litmus test by which we, with finite resources, must prioritize our activities.


What’s New?


With member value in mind, what was newly launched in 2018?


· Based on feedback, our current Certified Urgent Care (CUC) program expanded beyond its former offerings to also recognize after-hours pediatric, orthopedic, and international urgent care centers.

· The Annual Benchmarking Report was enhanced via a partnership with Merchant Medicine as the most sought-after resource about the industry—and it is offered at no cost to participating centers.

· UCA responded to inquiries by offering its first Accreditation Workshop and now accredits over 800 centers.

· A new association management system platform was launched, with aspirations of providing a much more engaging member experience, extending from our website to education.

· Clinical best practice algorithms were published in collaboration with the College of Urgent Care Medicine.

· A diabetes screening research project was launched through the Urgent Care Foundation.

· While already involved in antibiotic stewardship efforts, we quickly responded to the CDC’s letter on antibiotic prescribing in the urgent care sector; stewardship toolkits were published, stakeholders convened, and a plan is in place to do our part.

· Operators ask for industry talent, so the Certified Urgent Care Management Professional program was introduced.

· We advocated on Capitol Hill and at the state level and launched the UCA Political Action Committee (UCAPAC).

· Finally, we are excited about an initiative that we anticipate will deliver patients to member center doors in new and unique ways. Stay tuned for more information on that in the coming months.


Fall Conference is in the Books


I’m pleased to report that we received favorable feedback on our fall conference. The first Buy, Sell, Partner full-day event was a success. The 2018 Fall Conference is likely to be our last that will take place in the fall, as we will focus on one exceptional, grand event each spring. Oceans of Opportunity, the 2019 Annual Convention & Expo, will take place April 7-10 in West Palm Beach, FL. Planning is already in progress, and it’s going to be a fantastic event for all. The fall season will now be UCA’s opportunity to support our growing chapters’ regional events while also freeing up staff time and resources to apply toward enhancing member success.


Membership Matters


We expect to bring our members great value. And we cannot continue our mission to advance the industry without your support. I want to extend my deepest gratitude to those who attend our events, exhibit at our events, support us as Corporate Support Partners, and renew or join UCA as members. Those things allow us to continue to advance the urgent care and on-demand healthcare industry. Our mutual success translates to healthier communities. We hope you garner value from your membership. I know we do. Onward to a great 2019!




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It’s November. It’s the Midterms. Let’s Get PAC(K)ing!

Posted By Laurel Stoimenoff, Wednesday, October 31, 2018

You’ve probably heard the adage, “If you’re not at the table, you’re probably on the menu.” It seemed that for years I always questioned if the urgent care industry should use being seemingly invisible for good or evil. It was inconceivable to me that the obvious value urgent care could provide to so many healthcare industry challenges went largely unnoticed.


              Fast forward to 2018. You have been noticed. In recent weeks we have had promising conversations with the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), as well as state and federal disaster preparedness organizations who have identified urgent care as a prospective partner to enhance disaster response. During a recent call with MedPAC that included a handful of urgent care industry stakeholders, the MedPAC representative stated, “This is the first time we’ve looked specifically at urgent care.” There is proposed legislation in Louisiana to allow EMS personnel to triage Medicaid patients to urgent care centers, as well as other alternatives to the emergency room. Additionally, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services responded favorably to comments made by the Urgent Care Association (UCA) and the College of Urgent Care Medicine (CUCM) with a proposed urgent care quality measure specialty set for 2019 Merit-based Incentive Payment Systems participants.


Be Careful What You Wish For: Urgent Care Under Siege


But with the benefits we’ve seen with this newfound visibility, there is also risk. Massachusetts legislators recently proposed an 8.75% tax on commercially billed urgent care charges (yes, that’s charges, not collections) and New Jersey is following with a bill that would prevent urgent care centers from discriminating based on “ability to pay,” while also prohibiting urgent care centers from providing care for anyone under the age of 18 unless it’s an emergency. This despite a 2018 Fair Health evaluation of claims that concluded 23% of claim lines1 in an urgent care environment were related to this age group. If successful, this New Jersey legislation would represent a devastating and unprecedented blow to urgent care providers. Urgent care operators have also found themselves the target of byzantine certificate of need and licensure regulations which stifle growth due to administrative and cost hurdles.


UCA Board Approves the Formation of UCAPAC


The UCA Board has approved the formation of a Political Action Committee (PAC) after determining that our strategy must be to get ahead of pernicious regulations. Having our seat at the table means we must identify and support candidates who recognize the value proposition made by urgent care centers across the country. We need to exploit the opportunities and squelch the threats.


              To do so, we need data, dollars, and determination. In working with our chapters and individuals in the states under siege, we’ve seen plenty of grit and commitment, but most are growing weary of playing defense. A PAC Advisory Board has been convened, and we will be seeking others to provide input. The PAC was introduced at last month’s fall conference in Houston. You can expect to hear more soon.


              Flying under the radar was peaceful, but urgent care has been elevated. We have our seat at the table. Now, we need to be able to pay for the meal.

You can make a donation to the PAC today by texting “UCAPAC” to 91999.



1.      Fair Health. FH Healthcare Indictors and FH Medical Price Index: a new view of place of service trends and medical pricing. March 2018.

Tags:  Elections  NERUCA  PAC  Political Action Committee  UCAPAC 

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Urgent Care in the Crosshairs

Posted By Camille Bonta, Wednesday, October 3, 2018

(written by Camille Bonta, MHS; Principal, Summit Health Care Consulting, and UCA Policy Consultant)


Healthcare will be a defining issue for many voters this year, on the basis that many Republicans in Congress still want to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Yet, on many healthcare issues, there is little daylight between Republicans and Democrats, and healthcare providers commonly find allies in both parties.

Elections provide a tremendous opportunity to educate candidates, including incumbents, because they are more interested in what you have to say before election day than after. Take the threat to urgent care in Massachusetts, for example.

This summer, Massachusetts state lawmakers proposed to impose new regulations on urgent care centers and to levy an 8.75% tax on center charges. Passage of the legislation would have been a terminal event for urgent care in Massachusetts and would have established an alarming model for other states to replicate. The North East Regional Urgent Care Association and the Urgent Care Association teamed up, and urgent care center operators from Massachusetts were called into action. We are pleased to report that the bill failed to advance before the close of the legislative session. From the experience, we learned that many lawmakers don't understand urgent care and that advocacy efforts would have been aided by pre-established relationships among urgent care center operators, their providers, and state lawmakers. It is a certainty that urgent care centers in Massachusetts and other states will be under threat again next year. Urgent care centers need to position themselves and should use the elections as a platform.

At the Urgent Care Convention and Expo in Las Vegas last May, I provided perspective on 10 ways the healthcare landscape had changed since the start of 2017. I highlighted actions by Congress and the Trump administration that are contributing to this reshaping, which occurred largely as an after-effect of Congress’s failure to repeal the ACA.

Other events, including continued healthcare consolidation and rising healthcare premiums that force Americans into high-deductible plans, also have profound effects on the healthcare landscape, creating challenges—but also opportunities.

And a new level of acknowledgement by policymakers that not all healthcare regulations lead to better care has spawned federal initiatives like Patients Over Paperwork, Meaningful Measures, and Red Tape Relief.

The urgent care community must lend some critical thinking to how it can take advantage of a shifting healthcare landscape, which includes engaging with policymakers.

In Washington, a bipartisan group of senators is interested in improving the transparency of healthcare cost and quality. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, charged with making recommendations to Congress, is examining the role of urgent care in delivering care to Medicare beneficiaries. Dramatic changes to the way Medicare pays for evaluation and management services are being considered. And, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has acknowledged the uniqueness of urgent care by creating an urgent care medicine specialty measure set for quality reporting.

The attention on urgent care has never been greater, and UCA is engaged nationally with a seat at important tables, but urgent care center owners, operators, and providers are the foot soldiers. Advocacy involvement at the local, state, and federal levels needs to become part of the business model for urgent care centers. For those who have disregarded the importance of engaging with elected officials and other policymakers, this is a paradigm shift—and a necessary one.

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Tags:  ACA  Affordable Care Act  elections  Legislation  Massachusetts  MedPAC  NERUCA  Regulations 

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Our Finest Hour

Posted By Laurel Stoimenoff, Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Co-Authored by Jasmeet Bhogal, MD, and Laurel Stoimenoff, UCA CEO


As you are most likely aware, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a retrospective analysis of antibiotic prescribing, comparing urgent care centers, retail clinics, emergency departments, and other practice settings. Using 4-year-old data, the CDC assigned the site where a prescription originated using only place-of-service codes, and determined the appropriateness of a pharmacy-dispensed antibiotic based on the ICD-9 code. The study indicated that urgent care centers were prescribing inappropriately at a higher percentage than the other three sectors.


The publication was released the same day representatives of the College of Urgent Care Medicine, the Urgent Care Association, urgent care clinical and operational stakeholders, EHR leadership, and payer representatives were attending a summit cosponsored by UCA, the CDC, and the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center (ARAC).


The story was picked up by a number of media outlets, with “urgent care” prominent in the headlines. But let’s look at the numbers more closely in order to maintain some perspective.  Even if the prescribing percentage is a true reflection of the actual rate, based on a limited set of diagnoses urgent care centers would have been responsible for 201,000 unnecessary prescriptions compared to 1.6 million in the remaining groups.


While concerns were expressed about the methodology, all industry representatives agreed that urgent care medicine has an opportunity to be part of the solution and take a leadership role in appropriate antibiotic prescribing.


A Serious Threat

Since their initial use in the 1940s, antibiotics have alleviated tremendous suffering and have saved millions of lives. Many organizations, including the CDC and the World Health Organization, agree that antibiotic resistance has become an increasing problem over the ensuing decades. On the Antibiotic/Antimicrobial Resistance page of its website, the CDC estimates that at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics each year in the United States, and that at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections.


Our Finest Hour

As we head to Houston for the UCA Fall Conference, it is appropriate that we remember the words of Apollo 13 Flight Director Gene Kranz. Overhearing others lamenting the likely fate of the mission, he rallies his team by saying “With all due respect sir, I believe this is going to be our finest hour.”


We have a responsibility to make this our finest hour. We need to each take responsibility in our area of influence to effect change. CUCM has created an Antibiotic Stewardship Toolkit, available on UCA’s website. The CDC also has a plethora of resources and training programs, and has committed to ongoing public education. UCA, the Urgent Care Foundation, and CUCM will apply additional energies toward educational and stewardship resources. We must continue to pursue the overarching goal of providing the highest quality care to our patients, while helping providers and patients in positively improving antibiotic prescribing and utilization practices.


The Foundation will cohost a stewardship summit in Houston immediately following our Fall Conference. During that summit, we will work toward clearly articulated, solution-focused deliverables.


Many organizations have made a stewardship commitment. They have demonstrated success and are willing to share how they brought about change. Collectively, we can and will make a difference. We will report back to the media and it will be our finest hour. In the interim, continue to make a difference providing exceptional healthcare to your communities. UCA will persevere to ensure that message remains at the forefront. See you in Houston!


Jasmeet Bhogal, MD is President of the Board of the College of Urgent Care Medicine.  Laurel Stoimenoff, PT, CHC is Chief Executive Officer of the Urgent Care Association.


Tags:  antibiotic resistance  antibiotic stewardship  antibiotics  CDC  CUCM  ICD-9 

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Urgent Care Foundation Co-Sponsors Summit on Antibiotic Stewardship

Posted By Laurel Stoimenoff, Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Representatives from the Urgent Care Association, the College of Urgent Care Medicine and the Urgent Care Foundation were all in attendance at an Antibiotic Stewardship Summit jointly hosted by UCA, the CDC and the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center (ARAC) at George Washington University.  The meeting took place July 15-16, 2018 and also included industry representatives, CEO’s of urgent care industry EMR organizations and the payer community. This meeting was to take place in the fall of 2018 but was accelerated in anticipation of the JAMA IM publication comparing antibiotic prescribing amongst urgent care centers, retail clinics, emergency departments and physician offices.  The findings showed that appropriate prescribing was lowest in the urgent care setting based on a retrospective analysis of antibiotics filled at a pharmacy and a 36 hour look back as to the last provider encounter and associated ICD-9 code (this study used 2014 data). This was also calculated based on a limited set of diagnoses including viral URI, bronchitis, influenza, non-suppurative otitis media, viral pneumonia and asthma/ allergy.   Place of service (POS) codes were utilized to identify the provider location. The publication can be found here

There is clear evidence that the urgent care industry has an opportunity for improvement in antibiotic prescribing.  UCA is responding to each and every inquiry from the media. Many of your colleagues also vigorously defended the industry at the joint summit while offering their support to move toward solutions with equal passion. 

UCA and the Urgent Care Foundation had already intended on sponsoring a stewardship summit following the Fall Conference in Houston, TX.  That remains in place as we work toward solutions.  You will hear much more about this in the coming months as UCA works in collaboration with the College of Urgent Care Medicine (CUCM) using our resources to support appropriate antibiotic prescribing and stewardship.  There was also a collective appeal to the CDC to support a comprehensive public awareness campaign much like the one that promoted smoking cessation. 

CUCM recently released an antibiotic stewardship toolkit available to anyone in the industry at no cost.  You can access this toolkit here.  UCA has provided education on stewardship over the years and will continue to do so.  We issued a position statement on stewardship two years ago and partnered with ARAC on research and better understanding both prescribing and consumer nuances in the urgent care setting.  We remain committed to education, clinical decision support, data collection and promoting evidence-based practice.

A number of the summit attendees have already committed their organizations to appropriate prescribing as part of their internal quality programs.  They also expressed a willingness to share.  As one attendee stated, “We cannot compete on quality.  It is our responsibility to share what we’ve learned.”  We have an opportunity to build upon successful foundations, evaluate our own practices, ensure accurate ICD-10 coding, collaborate with experts and ultimately elevate the industry.

It is important that we understand that antimicrobial resistance is affected by all areas of clinical delivery, not just urgent care.  According to the research which was based on commercially insured patients, UCCs were responsible for 201,682 visits where a prescription was deemed inappropriate based on ICD-9 coding. This is in comparison to a total of 1,628,206 inappropriate prescribing visits in the other locations.  

 In summary, UCA staff, Board and stakeholders are steadfast in our commitment to our Mission Statement: We are an organization of leaders, providers and suppliers in the field of on-demand, consumer-focused healthcare. We advance our industry and support success through advocacy, education, research, collaboration and high standards of excellence. Please feel free to contact me at if you have any questions or would like to share your best practices regarding antibiotic stewardship.

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Thoughtfully Flourishing into New Frontiers

Posted By Laurel Stoimenoff, Monday, July 2, 2018

UCA frequently receives calls from the media questioning the impact of current or looming influences on the industry. Typically, they are seeking opinions on how urgent care will fare in the uncertain future and if its meteoric growth trajectory can possibly continue. The good news is we are on their radar, though I sometimes sense they are seeking a more savory story,  even hoping our fate is like that of the Ford Edsel. I attribute it to envy, particularly in those who believe the road was an easy one devoid of the ingenuity and grit it took to get you where you are today.  


Urgent care centers have transformed on-demand medicine. The industry collectively chose to put the patient first and the consumer gravitated to it. Its focus has always been on elevating the patient experience and gaining their loyalty to a center or brand. Yet in recent months I have had the opportunity to speak with both clinical and operational leaders in a number of organizations regarding issues of clinical quality and patient safety. Suffice it to say that I have been extremely impressed and humbled by the profound commitment that fundamentally begins with these core tenets.  A parallel can be found in Disney, which is known for its courtesy and the guest experience but defines its highest priority as safety. While quality and safety are “given” expectations of consumers and they may lack the “wow” factor, they require relentless attention by those who provide the care and service.


High-Reliability Organizations

A high-reliability organization (HRO) is defined as an organization that operates in complex, high-hazard domains for extended periods without serious accidents or catastrophic failures. HROs consistently achieve their goals and deliver safe, high-quality service based on six foundational elements, including a preoccupation with failure. They focus on predicting failures instead of reacting to them. While on the surface, the urgent care environment may not seem to be highly complex or looming with hazards, reliability is a core tenet of value-based care (VBC).  And VBC will inspire integration with other providers and systems, resulting in an increasingly complex web where failure probabilities increase.  


What Could Go Wrong?

We are not pessimists when reflecting on what could possibly go wrong. After all, as a mentor used to tell me, a pessimist is just an optimist with experience. Whether considering quality and safety issues around patient care and outcomes, the fate of your business, or the future of the urgent care industry, we must do what oftentimes feels like the impossible: take time to think. The Urgent Care Foundation recently convened a representation of industry thought leaders at our Annual Convention and Expo for just this purpose. What we learned is that many of these innovators are implementing and improving their organizations with what some perceive as necessary defensive moves, while others see it as playing offense. Either way, we saw ways that these organizations continue to evolve while maintaining a keen focus on quality and safety. One of HRO’s foundational elements is resiliency, and these thought leaders define it.


In support of this, UCA’s revised mission reads:


We are an organization of leaders, providers and suppliers in the field of on-demand, consumer-focused healthcare. We advance our industry and support success through advocacy, education, research, collaboration and high standards of excellence.”


The upcoming urgent care conference is themed New Frontiers, representing the innovation of the industry and our collective commitment to reinventing ourselves in anticipation of changes in technology, the regulatory climate, consumer demands, and our healthcare communities, while always building on the fundamental successes that launched on-demand ambulatory healthcare. When the media calls, I make sure they understand the strength of the fabric that makes up this organism we call urgent care. That should be their story.


I hope to see you at the UCA Fall Conference in Houston, October 12-14. It’s where failure is not an option!

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Tags:  conference  high-reliability organizations  HRO  thought leaders  UCA  UCA mission  urgent care conference 

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Urgent Care Association, Your Gateway to Better

Posted By Dr. Pamela Sullivan, Immediate Past President, Thursday, June 7, 2018

(A Message from Immediate Past President, Dr. Pamela Sullivan)

A top of the line sports car. A rocket with cutting-edge design and technology. On-demand healthcare. Your business. The urgent care industry. What do these things have in common? They are all advancing quickly and striving to be the best in class. The Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA) has heard your message. We strive to be the best, so we can support the industry and help drive your success. The Board of Directors and staff of UCAOA have spent the last year gauging the needs of our members and reviewing our strategic plan. Our goal is to broaden our scope of services and outreach, ensuring we are anticipating and exceeding the needs of the urgent care and on-demand industry. UCAOA is now the Urgent Care Association (UCA) - your gateway to better.

UCA connects the on-demand healthcare industry to better:


Education | Resources | Networking | Billing | Advocacy

Accreditation | Vendor Partners | Data | Recruiting | Telemedicine

Tools | Career Opportunities | Training | Support


Attendees at the Evolution 2.0 Urgent Care Convention & Expo last month received a first look at the association’s own “evolution” to UCA during the member appreciation lunch on Monday, May 7. Those at the convention were also able to take advantage of the inaugural VIP (Value in Participation) program, which gave every attendee the chance to take home up to $5,000 in free products and services from UCA and program vendors, ensuring that event attendance pays for itself. If you missed last month’s event, don’t snooze on registering for the 2018 Urgent Care Fall Conference in Houston October 1214! The VIP program will continue there, so you too can walk away from the event with up to $5,000 in free products and services from the industry’s best solution providers.


The VIP program is just one of many amazing resources and benefits that the association provides. I am in awe of the work accomplished by Laurel Stoimenoff, CEO and the UCA staff since I began to serve as president of the board.


The following is a partial list of achievements over the past year:


  • Specialty sections created as a free member benefit, including Pediatrics, Occupational Medicine, Telemedicine / eHealth, and Hospitals / Health Systems
  • Addition of the Northeast Regional Urgent Care Association (NERUCA) and California Urgent Care Association (CalUCA) as state chapters
  • 401k MEP (Multiple Employer Plan) member benefit launched
  • Members-only payer and reimbursement toolkit available on UCA website 
  • Advocacy efforts including “Day on the Hill” and Veterans’ Affairs bill
  • Released The Essential Role of the Urgent Care Center in Population Health white paper
  • 750 centers earning Accreditation, and 1,300 centers qualifying for Certification 
  • New certification types recognized, including Rural, Seasonal, Orthopedic, Occupational Medicine / Health, and Pediatrics After-Hours
  • College of Urgent Care Medicine (CUCM) restructured to welcome physician assistants and nurse practitioners
  • Collaborated with Antibiotic Resistance Action Center (ARAC) at George Washington University on antibiotic stewardship
  • Funded care for the uninsured offered by urgent care centers following hurricanes in Texas and Louisiana through the Urgent Care Foundation


As I reflect on my tenure as UCA president, I know that we will continue to strive to support you, our members, every day. I am humbled that I was given the opportunity to serve as your president. I wish success, happiness and good health to all of you.





~Pamela C. Sullivan, MD, MBA, FACP, PT


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Channeling Vince

Posted By Laurel Stoimenoff, Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Vince Lombardi was an inspirational football coach. His intolerance of losing is legendary, but he also had an expectation for mindful preparedness that was evident when he said, “Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.”


I’d like to go on record stating that I want to win. I want to win for those of you who show up at work during a horrific flu season knowing it’s going to be a day where you may not have time to eat, nor do you have any idea what time your shift will end. I want to win for all of those who support the moments leading up to and after the physician, PA, or NP walk into that room and the healing begins. And I want to win for the consumer who is ill, injured, or fearful who finds solace knowing that there is easy access to a competent and caring medical professional at a local urgent care center.


Our responsibility at UCAOA is to raise our heads up every day and think strategically on how we can ensure the ongoing success of urgent care medicine. That also means understanding our limitations. We are a staff of eighteen passionate individuals armed with a vision that could easily command a team twice that size. The administrative team supports the advancement of not only the Urgent Care Association of America, but the strategic initiatives of the College of Urgent Care Medicine, the Urgent Care Foundation, and the newly formed Urgent Care Services Corporation.


Making Connections

Recognizing that we cannot accomplish our vision without collaboration, the UCAOA Board of Directors has stressed the importance of connections over the past year. We are forging relationships with other associations and stakeholders in the world of on-demand, consumer-driven healthcare and identifying areas of common interest. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, as of October 2017, there were 456,389 professionally active primary care physicians in the U.S.1 Assuming the association’s database of 8,223 urgent care centers each employed 2.5 physicians, urgent care’s voice would pale as a percentage. But we know we can amplify that voice through our connections and collaborative efforts.


Our Annual Convention & Expo brings together thought leaders from other sectors of the on-demand healthcare industry to celebrate our diversity and identify those areas where we can capitalize on our common ground. While our dialogue is in its nascent stages, it is apparent that the strategic direction of these organizations is also about inclusiveness and outreach. And just as the annual Convention & Expo acts as a connector between a diverse group of clinicians, operators, vendors, and speakers, the association strives to make connections on behalf of our members through online resources, specialty sections, advocacy efforts, education, and networking opportunities.


Vince Lombardi also said, “In all my years of coaching, I have never been successful using somebody else’s play.” The wisdom there is not to simply replicate what someone else has done, but improve upon it. I’m confident Vince studied the plays of others, but subsequently reinvented them. And then those who followed studied what Vince did, and the game was better because of it.


We will continue to build upon the burgeoning platform of consumer-driven healthcare. There will be challenges along the road to success, but we don’t get bitter. We will use them to get better. And win. You deserve that.


1.       Kaiser Family Foundation. Professionally active physicians. Available at: Accessed March 26, 2018.


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Tags:  advocacy  connections  convention  cucm  education  networking  sections  ucf 

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Start a Revolution at Evolution 2.0

Posted By Laurel Stoimenoff, Monday, April 2, 2018

It’s not surprising that Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase have joined forces to impact the rising costs of healthcare. The complexities of healthcare and the billions spent annually on healthcare lobbying have limited the ability of the government to implement any material change. The 1976 movie Network features fictional broadcaster Howard Beale’s famous speech where he implores the people to open their windows and yell out, “I’m not going to take this anymore!” He tells his listeners to first get mad, then we’ll all figure out how to solve the problem.


This seems to be the approach being taken by these titan corporations. They have indicated that they intend to leverage technology as a solution, but little else is known about how they are going to revolutionize healthcare delivery. But they’re mad. And we can help.


The Affordable Care Act made changes, but 11.7% of adults were uninsured in 2017.1 And the average family who did have coverage experienced their employer-sponsored healthcare premium grow 20% from 2011 to 2016, with an anticipated increase of another 6.5% in 2018.2 Some predict that as healthcare costs increase and income remains relatively constant, staying well will consume the average worker’s income in the not-too-distant future. And when two lines cross on a graph, something big is bound to happen. Mike Ferguson, chief operating officer of the Self-Insured Institute of America, wrote “By breaking free of the conventional coverage model, self-insured companies are finding innovative ways to improve the health of their workers, and at lower cost. Business leaders and policy-makers should take note.”3


Consumer-driven healthcare isn’t going away. But we need to do more than adapt to these inevitable changes. We need to collaborate with these innovators and invent the future. Telemedicine’s growth was catalyzed by the self-insured employers. When Cigna and United Health put their toe in the water to cover telemedicine visits several years ago, the coverage was limited to the self-insured groups they administered.


So, what can we do? Our growth strategies must extend beyond penetrating the traditional payer community to partnering with employers. The next time you have an opportunity to speak with an employer about their injured worker, why not bring up the benefits you can provide by caring for their entire workforce? You can set up an on-site or provide care in your near-site center. Many payer contracts restrict you from providing care that extends beyond episodic illness and injury, but employers shouldn’t care where the wellness care is taking place. You have the opportunity to provide unfettered care where the employee’s health and future savings are the ultimate goals.


Embrace change, embrace technology, and embrace integration. Get involved in healthcare policy at the state level and help UCAOA when we need your voice at the federal level. It’s much more satisfying to proactively influence policy than fall victim to it.  


I hope you’ll join us next month at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas for UCAOA’s Annual Convention & Expo. We will address employer strategies and update you on the regulatory climate. We’ll host state and chapter networking discussions and encourage thought leadership on strategies to influence meaningful change. The convention has been dubbed Evolution 2.0 to reflect the next trajectory of our relatively nascent industry. Think of it as (R)EVOLUTION 2.0, and together, let’s lead it.



1.   Well-Being Index. U.S. uninsured rate rises in 2Q 2017. July 2017. Available at: Accessed March 6, 2018.

2.   PwC. Medical cost trend: Behind the numbers 2018. Available at: Accessed March 6, 2018.

3.   Ferguson M. Self-insured companies help push health care innovations. Investor’s Business Daily. March 22, 2017. Available at: Accessed March 6, 2018.

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Tags:  ceo  Convention  growth  Membership  payer  technology  telemedicine 

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What’s Our Rallying Cry?

Posted By Laurel Stoimenoff, Wednesday, February 28, 2018

What’s Our Rallying Cry?


I periodically like to see what other associations are doing on behalf of their members and industries. Recently, I was intrigued by an initiative of the Brewers Association. The Association launched the largest crowdfunding campaign in history to #TakeCraftBack from Anheuser-Busch In-Bev (ABI). Belgium-based ABI has been acquiring smaller, independently owned craft breweries since 2011, so the Brewers Association elected to rally their membership to raise a mere $213 billion (yes, with a B) to meet the asking price for ABI. Only pledges, not actual donations, will be accepted unless those pledges reach the targeted purchase price, unlikely as that may be. Nonetheless, this represents an association orchestrating a message that is being heard by many.


Identifying Our #TakeCraftBack


It was the simplicity of the message that I found so intriguing. Each day, team UCAOA is engaged in a myriad of industry and member-supporting activities. We do this through multiple channels including, but certainly not limited to, education, advocacy, board-member strategy sessions, benchmarking, media communications, research, committee work, chapter and section support, and the contributions of valued volunteers.


 UCAOA is privileged to support a diverse membership who join with equally diverse agendas and expectations. So, what is our singular message we cannot only all agree upon, but also support with a vengeance?


In a recent survey of middle-market healthcare companies1, reimbursement was cited as the #1 challenge for 2018. Many urgent care copayments have become so high that they represent the bulk of the anticipated payment, while the costs associated with billing the payers for a shrinking percentage of the total claim continue to rise. It baffles me that urgent care centers are not universally recognized as an essential component in the provision of acute primary care services.


The shortage of primary care physicians is deemed a crisis. Urgent care integration with the PCP practice is a clear solution, yet reimbursement models seem focused on creating disincentives to seek care in the UC setting. So, should our singular message center on fair compensation for the important role we play in keeping communities healthy? Or perhaps we agree that even though emergency departments are overcrowded, patients continue to seek care for conditions that could be cost-effectively cared for in the urgent care center. Should our mantra therefore be focused on breaking down barriers and getting patients to the right care at the right time in the right setting?


Make Your Voice Known


We want to hear from you. Urgent care’s largest convening of key stakeholders takes place at the UCAOA Annual Convention & EXPO, May 69 at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. I will be accompanied by UCAOA colleagues and Board members who all want to know what you believe our agenda needs to be to ensure member and industry success. While we are committed to our long-term strategic plan, we remain open to responding to needs of our members as they arise.


Aretha Knew


I have said it before, but I repeat it because it is heartfelt: We are privileged to serve urgent care centers and stakeholders. Cost-effective access to a competent, caring medical provider today should be an option for all. The providers and operators who open their doors every day, particularly at times when others don’t, deserve fair reimbursement for what they do. Aretha Franklin may have articulated our rallying cry many years ago.

We just want a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T.   #UrgentCareRespect



1 Modern Healthcare, “Healthcare execs look to make deals in 2018”, Tara Bannow, December 30 2017. 

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