Urgent Care Strategy and Industry Outlook

Urgent Care Centers provide one-stop diagnostics and treatments for cases beyond the scope or availability of a primary care physician yet not severe enough to warrant a trip to the emergency department. Urgent care centers are not new. In fact, urgent care has been growing 6 to 8% annually for at least two decades. In 2012 there were an estimated 94 million visits (11.5% of all primary care visits), and ~$14 billion in revenue. By 2017, 129 million visits are projected (14.5% of all primary care visits), and ~$18 billion in revenue. Demand for primary care access, convenience, and reduced cost of care is driving long-term growth.

Demand for better primary care access, convenience and reduced costs is driving long-term growth

Urgent care clinics allow for insurance coverage with small customer copay or even out-of-pocket consumer payment, due to reduced costs. If payment is made immediately, many urgent care clinics offer a self-pay discounted base rate, with additional discounted fees added for procedures, supplies, or diagnostics. Consumers save money and administrative costs associated with post-visit billing are eliminated. Between 2010 and 2012, reimbursements increased by 14.7% as commercial payers have seen the value of urgent care clinics. Reduced costs of care, streamlined self-pay practices, and increasing reimbursement add financial stability to the urgent care model.

Urgent Care Partners helps health systems expand their urgent care center and ambulatory strategy. As the industry continues to shift to on-demand care and population management, it is essential for health systems to adjust and change in order to maintain relevancy, better serve the population’s needs, and achieve their ultimate missions and visions.