Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Urgent Care Business Model

The business model is simple. Treat many patients as quickly as possible. Urgent care is a low-margin, high-volume proposition. ..most people are in and out in about 30 minutes. The national average charge runs about $155 per patient visit. Do 30 to 35 visits a day, and the money starts to add up.

Julie Creswell, “Race Is On to Profit From Rise of Urgent Care, “ New York Times, July 9, 2014

Patients being seen in America’s 5,000 to 9,000 urgent care walk-in clinics (the exact number is not known) share at least five things in common.

1. Patients are not being treated at a traditional doctor’s office or an emergency room.

2. Most urgent care centers do not accept Medicaid and turn away the uninsured unless they pay upfront.

3. Building more centers has caught the rapt attention of Wall Street Investors, big chains like McDonalds and Walmart and the big pharmaceutical chains, hospitals, , and physician owners.

4. Patients like the convenience of access (most are open 7 days a week, from 8 to 24 hours a day) and the cost ( an average of $100 per visit compared to $500 to $1000 average or more for an ER visit, depending on the nature of the visit).

5. Urgent care centers are a new consumer-friendly business model, which accounts for their rapid growth of free-standing centers, some hospital-owned, some independent, some quasi- ERs.

Welcome to a New Health Care World

Welcome to the new world of consumer-driven health care, an alternative to ObamaCare, traditional doctor offices, and emergency rooms. Welcome to a world that features a business model catering to how consumers want their health care to be delivered. Welcome to a new ambulatory world operating outside of the reach of regulators and 3rd party middlemen. Welcome to a world of non-bureaucratic, hassle-free, direct-pay care.

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