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

 

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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: https://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/total-active-physicians. Accessed March 26, 2018.

 

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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.

 

References

1.   Well-Being Index. U.S. uninsured rate rises in 2Q 2017. July 2017. Available at: http://www.well-beingindex.com/u.s.-uninsured-rate-2q-2017. Accessed March 6, 2018.

2.   PwC. Medical cost trend: Behind the numbers 2018. Available at: https://www.pwc.com/us/en/health-industries/health-research-institute/behind-the-numbers/reports/hri-behind-the-numbers-2018.pdf. Accessed March 6, 2018.

3.   Ferguson M. Self-insured companies help push health care innovations. Investor’s Business Daily. March 22, 2017. Available at: https://www.investors.com/politics/commentary/self-insured-companies-help-push-health-care-innovations/. Accessed March 6, 2018.

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