First the urgent care industry saw itself cut out of the distribution chain for COVID-19 testing supplies. Next, it saw vaccines go preferentially to go health systems, public health organizations, and chain drugstores and big box stores. Now, as it continues to come back from those oversights, there are reports that UnitedHealth Group is undercutting the reimbursement rate set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for immunizing patients against SARS-CoV-2.
As JUCM News has reported, many urgent care operators started suffering downturns in patient visits in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. It could be hard to get those patients back without a concerted effort on your part, according to an article just published by JAMA Network.
So many patients have lingering symptoms after the SARS-CoV-2 virus has actually resolved that distinctive names have emerged: long-haul COVID-19, or post-COVID condition.
It’s always been hard to get a good read on how telehealth would ultimately fare in the urgent care industry. There have been proponents who argued that anything that increases access to medical care—which telehealth does, undeniably—would ultimately be good for the patient and any operator smart enough to seize the opportunity.
Readers of JUCM News are painfully aware of downturns in urgent care patient visits throughout much of the COVID-19 pandemic. As testing supplies and now vaccines have become more readily available, and patients feel safer venturing to healthcare facilities, a healthy rebound is in effect at urgent care centers across the country.
Urgent care centers equipped to draw blood and collect other specimens are well positioned to create new revenue streams related to the booming direct-to-consumer lab movement.
Nurse-initiated protocols (NIPs) have been found to be beneficial in emergency department settings. Nurse-initiated x-rays for ankle and foot injuries can reduce patients’ length of stay while improving staff satisfaction. Utilization of NIPs in an urgent care setting can bring positive benefits to patients, staff, and the organization.
In February 2020, the first U.S. case of community spread COVID-19 was identified at a pediatric urgent care center in Seattle, reinforcing the fact that UC is on the frontlines of healthcare. Between March and May 2020, the majority of healthcare services saw a significant downturn in volumes as patients quarantined and businesses shutdown. But as the number of domestic COVID-19 cases increased, many general urgent care centers saw unprecedented volume surges that continued throughout 2020. Pediatrics, on the other hand, has struggled. And now, more than 12 months since the dawn of this pandemic, pediatric acute care is still searching for its place.
There’s no doubt that the ability to offer patients immunization against a deadly virus would be a good thing for urgent care. Patients who have never visited your facility before may be encouraged to step inside for the first time, thereby getting a close-up view of how professional your team is and leaving with a peace of mind they may have been lacking for months.
Do Respiratory Outpatient Clinics Decrease Bronchiolitis Reevaluation Rates? Observational Data from a Quality Improvement Project
Establishing respiratory outpatient clinics has been shown to decrease reevaluation rates for patients with bronchiolitis, especially in children aged <12 months and/or those who receive suctioning during their initial urgent care encounter.