Saturday, September 6, 2014

Urgent Care, is it taking over?

Recently theres been a lot of hype about Urgent Care facilities rising up, but are they on the verge of a take over?  Urgent Care facilities have been increasing steadily over the past 20 years, providing faster and more affordable healthcare for patients who are on a budget.  These facilities divert patients from more expensive Private Practices and Emergency Departments which increases healthcare spending because they will treat the same patients for less.  Urgent Care executives, Emergency Department directors, and health plan network managers have all come to the unanimous conclusion that even though the overall cost of Urgent Care facilities is uncertain, it has postitively impacted the healthcare industry by improving access to patients with private plans "without significantly disrupting continuity of care."

Why are Urgent Care facilities starting to take over?  As mentioned earlier the main reason would be that they are more affordable to certain extents.  Costs are driven up when the patient has previously been seen by a private practice physician.  However, many people are beginning to use these facilities as their primary care providers because insurance companies, such as Medicaid, have begun to shift patients from Emergency Departments to Urgent Care facilities because the copay at the Urgent Care facility will be less than Emergency Departments.  Urgent Care facilities are on the rise across the nation reaching a high of 9000 locations.  An Urgent Care executive said, " Somebody like myself, I don't have a chronic illness.  I'm young.  If i need to see a doctor I just go to an urgent care center."  For many patients, you may only need to see a doctor a couple times a year so going to an urgent care facility will be much more affordable than a private practice.

Urgent Care facilities are continuing to become more cost-effective as they are integrating new payment methods supported under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  "UCC's can grow as an attractive alternative," said author Tracy Yee, meaning that Urgent Care facilities are rising up as a good, cost effective alternative to private practices for younger patients as well as patients with new insurance plans.  If you haven't been to one yet, it is definitely something to look into if you're trying to save some money.

EVERA. Everyone should feel this good about healthcare.


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