News & Press: Urgent Care News

Calm Before the Storm: 2017 Year in Review

Monday, March 5, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: UCAOA/Merchant Medicine
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by Tom Charland

If you are reading this article you are probably an active participant in the on-demand healthcare industry.  You probably also think 2017 turned out to be a ho-hum year:  no blockbuster urgent care acquisitions like MedExpress; no major hiccups in urgent care patient volume or deal flow; just another year of moderate growth and stability in an industry that seems to be meeting the day-to-day healthcare needs of consumers.  

There were also no major hiccups in the economy.  In fact, the stock market is in the middle of the second-longest bull market since the end of World War II, trailing only the boom from 1987 to 1990.

“Our economy is good, if not spectacular,” says Greg Young, senior portfolio manager at Bernstein Global Wealth Management and a speaker at our strategy symposium later this month.  “Other developed economies are strong, too.”  

There was the typical deal flow among urgent care operators.  There was the final completion of the Walgreens/Rite Aid transaction.  And although you could argue there could be new upheaval in the health insurance markets with the repeal of Obamacare’s individual mandate, we’ve almost become immune to these kinds of developments.   Even in the broader ambulatory care market, we see private equity investments underpinning not just stability but innovation and stable growth.

“Globally what’s remarkable is the swath of specialties we see private equity investing in,” says Bo Hinton, managing director at Coker Capital Advisors, who will also be speaking at our symposium.  “We’re seeing not just things like dermatology and eye care taking off, but gastro, immunology, radiology, anesthesia.  And this is all taking place at the same time that some of the bigger players and publicly traded groups are struggling.”

In this article we will summarize the highlights of 2017 in urgent care and retail clinics.  We will also provide some commentary on telehealth and lab stations.  And we will provide some further insight into the CVS Health-Aetna merger.  But the bottom line is that there are a lot of new developments at play right now, so 2017 may have been the calm before the storm.


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