Thursday, August 7, 2008

Physician business ideas, physician business models - Urgent Care Clinics

What: Urgent Care Clinics, 8000 of them, 1200 affiliated with hospitals.

Why: Numbers are growing as less expensive and more convenient alternative to overcrowded ERs, and as places staffed by physicians who can do things nurse practitioners cannot do in retails clinics.

How: Have staff to equipment to cast broken bones, put on splints, sew up lacerations, give IVs for dehydration, treat burns, remove foreign bodies, and offer life support and transportation. Pricing varies: Level 1 - $79 for visit, no diagnostic tests or procedures; Level 2 - $129 for one procedure – sewing up laceration, removing sutures, treating minor burns, rmoeval of foreign body, treating eye injury; Level 3 –Performing more than one procedure, injections, IVs for dehydration

When: Evolving in sophistication and scope and growing in numbers for last 20 years, largely in response to fewer, more overcrowded, and more expensive ERs, with longer waits and bigger bills ($1000 vs. $60 to $200) and as alternative to long waits at swamped primary care offices.

Where: Strip malls, next to highways, rural areas, near hospitals.

Who: Staffed by family physicians and Emergency doctors, backed by URgen Care Associatons, covered by many insurers, owned by Solantic, Inc, of Jacksonville, Florida, Nextcare of Mesa, Arizone, doctors, investors, and hospitals.

Reference: Laura Landro, “Options Expand for Avoiding Crowed ERs, “ Wall Street Journal, August 6, 2008


Dan said...

Real Alternative Medicine

One possible solution to the primary care doctor is what is known as retail care clinics, or convenience care clinics, and their popularity continues to increase somewhat for a variety of reasons. And their eventual need by others has yet to be determined and is only speculated by others at this time. Of particular note is that most of these types of clinics is that are normally staffed with nurse practitioners or physician assistants, who are, like doctors, more thorough than others, but are favored by many as a vocation and sought as treatment providers progressively. The growth of such clinics may slow at times, but the benefits of such urgent care light clinics do in fact exist and are desirable for many.
First, I’ll offer a definition of a retail clinic: A retail clinic is a medical treatment facility that is usually located in a convenient location, such as a shopping area, and are smaller than most doctors’ offices in regards to geographical space. Usually, these clinics are staffed with a nurse practitioner that often have the ability and authority to provide the same quality care as a primary care physician, and do so with the same standards regarding accountability and autonomy. If you happen to go to one for what may be considered a mild ailment, for example, for such conditions as allergies or the flu, you will notice a unique and pleasant paradigm towards your care at such a clinic in comparison with present medical doctor offices that are possibly demoralized if not largely apathetic, others have said
These urgent care light clinics are normally and amazingly quick for a patient treated at such a location. You are normally in and out of there within a half hour or so. This includes a thorough assessment and treatment regimen offered. Unlike typical doctor offices, these clinics are walk-in clinics, so there is no over-booking of patients, which is what typically occurs at current offices of doctors, as many are focused on daily volume of patients, as they are usually a member of a large health care system that instructs these offices in such a way.
With these convenience care clinics, you actually dialogue with your health care provider more so than you have experienced in a traditional doctor’s office due to other doctor offices often being incredibly busy from seeing too many patients during a typical day for reasons described above. And this is not to imply that the health care providers at typical doctor offices do not care about you and one’s particular health issues, yet possibly is due to limited resources, possibly.
The cost of going to such a retail clinic typically is about 25 percent less expensive than a normal doctor visit, others have said. Yet you will likely notice no decline in the quality of care that you receive. In fact, likely you will experience greater quality on many different levels, both from a personal level and treatment level if a patient at such a clinic as a retail clinic, others have said..
Critics of such clinics include the American Medical Association and various medical societies, yet in my opinion, they are simply vexed because of the invasion of these clinics on their turf and their infiltration into their group without being invited, perhaps. Or perhaps such groups and associations do not see NPs and Pas as having the ability to provide quality medical care as they do as medical doctors. Regardless, most seem pleased with the retail clinics and the treatment provider others experience at these locations.
If it is discovered that you need greater medical care or attention than the retail clinic can provide for you during your visit at their urgent care light clinic, you will most likely be referred to a nearby location that can provide the care you are determined to need by the clinic’s heath care provider, who has likely has some familiarity and possibly some relationships with the hospitals and others in the medical community for which they serve. It should be noted that both NPs and PAs are quite capable of determining the severity of your illness, and will act accordingly.
So most patients of these retail clinics are pleased with the care they receive from them, which is why they continue to grow in number under different names, as they have become franchises, yet the concept of this ‘pay as you go’ health care is fairly new, only the future will tell if this method is preferred by those seeking minor restoration of their health. It seems to be preferred by many presently. And presently, Take Care Health Clinics, owned and located inside Walgreen’s pharmacies, are the market leader with retail clinics. And Walgreens plans to add more clinics next year.
These retail clinics, it appears, provide possibly provide a response to the shortage of primary care doctors that some believe exist, and possibly are an answer to other problems that exist in the health care system in the U.S., which includes delays in getting needed medical treatment, and incomplete assessment provided by your doctor presently due to variables such as the large volume of patients your doctor normally sees on a daily basis. One could conclude that the retail clinics seem in a way more authentic than the dominant system, and may be more beneficial ultimately for the public health, with exceptions, of course, depending on the individual circumstances of the patient.
Dan Abshear
“Compassion is the basis of all morality.” --- Arthur Schopenhauer
Author’s note: What has been written is based upon information and belief.

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