The economic crisis, looming entitlement reforms and potential budget cuts in america at the federal and state level are allowing the growth of urgent care clinics, also referred to as immediate care clinics, to substantially increase. This is regarded as a remedy to fill in the growing doctor shortage.
According to industry reports and spending by large healthcare operators, the quantity of Nearest Urgent Care is projected to soar in the next decade. It is actually estimated more than 8,000 urgent care clinics have already been established – other numbers show 9,000 – as well as the Urgent Care Association of America reports eight to 10 % annual growth.
Urgent care facilities will vary than traditional hospitals and are rather similar to the health clinics found in places like Walmart and Walgreen as they are usually open on evenings and weekends and treat common medical issues – some immediate care clinics do offer additional services like X-rays for broken bones.
Some healthcare professionals like to take into consideration their urgent care clinics as after-hours doctors’ offices. Most of people who work such a business office do note, however, patients may not be able to view a board-certified doctor or any other kind of specialist.
A large percentage of walk-in clinics and urgent care offices are managed and operated by non-profit health systems, which receive donations and contributions in order to fund construction and renovation costs, patient care program support, general operations costs and equipment purchases, in accordance with the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy’s (AHP) annual Report on Giving study.
With the amount of of those operations setting up in malls, main streets and in major metropolitan cities, can the non-profit sector even pay for them? Well, Reuters is reporting that private equity firms have been investing money into urgent care clinics over the past few years. While there is a huge risk in making an investment in these clinics due to the possibility of oversaturation and low insurance reimbursements, these firms work one-on-one with clinics to supply quality and also to make profit.
Rand Health found that retailers are entering the healthcare marketplace too. Big box stores, like Target and Walmart, only had some of these clinics during 2000, but today there are more than 1,200.
“Retail clinics emphasize convenience, with extended weekend and evening hours, no appointments, and short wait times,” the corporation states in its report. “Greater than 44 percent of retail clinic visits occur when physician offices are usually closed. Price transparency and low costs may additionally be particularly attractive for people without insurance.”
This can be surely part of the profit-motive for these particular corporations.
No matter the concerns one may have on the private sector getting involved in this type of industry, urgent care clinics are portion of the nation’s future healthcare market, especially since President Obama’s Affordable Care Act is bqbxru law of the land and definately will put in a burden to the system.
“Many factors could influence the way forward for retail clinics inside the U.S. First, the growing body of evidence casting doubt on quality-of-care concerns could lead to greater acceptance and utilize of retail clinics,” Rand added.
“Full implementation in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may also lead to continued retail clinic growth. With more people insured and an increased need for primary care beneath the ACA, use of primary care physicians could decrease. This may lead to increased interest in retail clinics. Similarly, if wait times for physician appointments increase-as has become the case in Massachusetts following its health reform-this might also increase retail clinic demand.”
Regardless of the concerns that some may have about private investment possibly cutting costs to increase its bottom line, urgent care clinics must offer remedies to health issues otherwise the consumer should go elsewhere to receive proper medical attention.