How Urgency Will Save Hospitals

| June 15, 2014

Clinic-50By Todd Campbell,  In the next five years the number of urgent care clinics operating across the United States is expected to surge to 12,000, up from about 10,000 today.

Many of those clinics will be owned by hospital chains like HCA (NYSE: HCA  ) and Tenet Healthcare (NYSE: THC  ) which are struggling to grow earnings amid government regulation and payer belt-tightening. As a result, urgent care centers may be the most important shift in the hospital industry this decade.

Care where and when you need it Urgent care clinics are fast becoming an important piece of America’s health care system. They serve more than 160 million visitors a year and represent a market worth more than $15 billion annually.

Their success is owed in part to the hospital industry’s failure. Long waits in emergency rooms for breaks, sprains, and the flu coupled with triple digit out-of-pocket invoices are making hospitals the care-of-last-resort.

In the past, many ER patients were uninsured and unable to make payments, resulting in steep write-offs for hospitals like HCA and Tenet. But thanks to the creation of the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace and the expansion of Medicaid in many states, more than 8 million people who may not have been able to pay previously, could be paying now.

Category: Uncategorized

Comments are closed.