Since the 2007 economic downturn, the face of healthcare in the United States has changed tremendously. Budget cuts are constant, entitlement reforms happen, and nobody really knows what is happening with the Affordable Care Act. This has created the perfect environment for urgent care Huntington NY facilities.
The Future of Urgent Care Facilities
Industry reports have shown that there is a huge soar in the number of urgent care facilities. In fact, the Urgent Care Association of America has reported a 10% year on year growth in the number of facilities. These centers are very different from hospitals and can better be compared to the walk-in clinics seen at Walgreen and Walmart. They are usually open 24/7 and can treat various common, non-life-threatening conditions. Some even offer x-ray services and treatment for broken bones.
Most of these facilities are owned, operated, and managed by nonprofit systems. They receive contributions and donations that help to construct the facility, provide support programs, pay for equipment purchases and operating costs, and more. The Association for Healthcare Philanthropy has reported on this.
However, a 10% growth in the opening of new facilities across metropolitan cities, main streets, and malls, it seems that the nonprofit sector will find it very difficult to continue to pay for it. However, according to the Reuters news agency, equity firms are no interested in these facilities. While still classed as high-risk investments due to low insurance reimbursements and oversaturation, equity firms help these clinics improve their quality, thereby also increasing profits.
According to Rand Health, retailers now also enter this marketplace. Various stores like Walmart and Target only had a few clinics in 2000. Today, they have over 1,200. This is because these clinics are convenient, offering extended opening hours, shorting waiting times, and no need for appointments. The Rand Health reports also states that over 44% of visits to these clinics will happen outside of regular office hours. Furthermore, with low costs and transparent price systems, people with little or no insurance find them very attractive.
Whenever the private sector gets involved in anything, there is a concern that profit will become more important than anything else. However, quality of care is now accepted across the board, which means retailers don’t have the opportunity to put profit before people. The Affordable Care Act also ensured demand for physicians would increase because they are more accessible to everybody, which means additional facilities have to be opened in order to keep up with demand.
While it is certainly true that we are once again in a period of political turmoil with the new Donald Trump administration, it is unlikely that there will be a change in terms of the demand for urgent care clinics. Private sector involvement may mean that these facilities have to cut down on their costs in order to increase their bottom line, but that can only go so far before people would choose to go elsewhere. Hence, it is likely that urgent care clinics will only start to play a bigger role in society.