The economic crisis, looming entitlement changes, and possible federal and state budget cuts in the United States are causing urgent care clinics, also known as emergency care clinics, to expand significantly. This is thought to be a solution to the rising doctor shortage. If you would like to learn more about this, please check out Virginia Beach Urgent Care Association.
The number of urgent care clinics is expected to increase dramatically over the next decade, according to industry surveys and investment by major healthcare providers. More than 8,000 urgent care clinics have been built – other estimates put the number at 9,000 – and the Urgent Care Association of America reports annual growth of eight to ten percent.
Urgent care facilities vary from conventional hospitals in that they are similar to health clinics located in locations like Walmart and Walgreens in that they are open late and on weekends and handle common health issues; however, some urgent care clinics do provide extra services such as X-rays for broken bones.
Some physicians prefer to think of their urgent care centres as after-hours doctor’s offices. Patients may not be able to see a board-certified doctor or another type of physician, according to the majority of those who work in such an office.
According to the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy’s (AHP) annual Report on Giving research, a significant percentage of walk-in clinics and urgent care offices are owned and operated by non-profit health systems, which receive donations and contributions to pay for construction and maintenance costs, patient care service funding, general administration costs, and equipment purchases.
Can the non-profit sector afford to pay for too many of these activities in malls, main streets, and big metropolitan cities? According to Reuters, over the last few years, private equity companies have been investing in urgent care clinics. While investing in these clinics carries a high risk due to the likelihood of oversaturation and poor insurance reimbursements, these companies work one-on-one with clinics to provide quality while still making a profit.
Retailers are now joining the healthcare sector, according to Rand Health. In the year 2000, big box stores like Target and Walmart just had a handful of these clinics, but now there are over 1,200.
“Retail clinics emphasise convenience,” according to the organization’s survey, “with extended weekend and evening hours, no appointments, and fast wait times.” “When physician offices are usually closed, more than 44% of retail clinic visits occur. People without insurance can find price transparency and low costs especially appealing.”