The downturn in the economy, looming entitlement reforms and potential budget cuts in america at the federal and state level are allowing the growth of urgent care clinics, otherwise known as immediate care clinics, to substantially increase. This is recognized as a remedy to fill in the growing doctor shortage.
According to industry reports and spending by large healthcare operators, the number of Urgent Care Near Me is projected to soar inside the next decade. It really is 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 percent annual growth.
Urgent care facilities are different than traditional hospitals and are rather like the health clinics found in places like Walmart and Walgreen since they are usually open on evenings and weekends and treat common health problems – some immediate care clinics offer additional services like X-rays for broken bones.
Some medical professionals like to consider their urgent care clinics as after-hours doctors’ offices. Most of those who work such an office do note, however, patients may not be able to visit a board-certified doctor or some other kind of specialist.
A large proportion 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 cover construction and renovation costs, patient care program support, general operations costs and equipment purchases, according to the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy’s (AHP) annual Report on Giving study.
With so many of these operations putting together 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 in the last couple of years. While there is a huge risk in investing in these clinics because of the chance of oversaturation and low insurance reimbursements, these firms work one-on-one with clinics to offer quality and to make profit.
Rand Health found that retailers are entering the healthcare marketplace too. Big box stores, like Target and Walmart, only had a few of these clinics during 2000, but today there are many than 1,200.
“Retail clinics emphasize convenience, with extended weekend and evening hours, no appointments, and short wait times,” the organization states in the report. “A lot more than 44 percent of retail clinic visits take place when physician offices are usually closed. Price transparency and low costs may even be particularly attractive for folks without being insured.”
This can be surely part of the profit-motive for these particular corporations.
Regardless of the concerns one may have over the private sector participating in such an industry, urgent care clinics are area of the nation’s future healthcare market, especially since President Obama’s Affordable Care Act is bqbxru law in the land and definately will put in a burden towards the system.
“Many factors could influence the future of retail clinics in the U.S. First, the growing body of evidence casting doubt on quality-of-care concerns could lead to greater acceptance and make use of of retail clinics,” Rand added.
“Full implementation in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may also lead to continued retail clinic growth. With increased people insured as well as an increased need for primary care underneath the ACA, usage 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 could also increase retail clinic demand.”
Regardless of the concerns that some may have about private investment possibly cutting costs to boost its bottom line, urgent care clinics must offer remedies to health problems otherwise the buyer should go elsewhere to receive proper medical treatment.