Staffing Shortages May Challenge Robust Urgent Care Center Growth

September 29, 2015

Forbes recently reported that the urgent care (UC) industry is booming. So much so that a recently purchased chain of urgent care centers helped the revenues of UnitedHealth Group’s Optum Health to jump 33 percent to $3.4 billion in second-quarter 2015. Forbes went as far to say that according to analysts, the timing is right for more UC expansion.

In addition, according to the Urgent Care Association of America’s (UCAOA) 2014 Benchmarking Survey Report, 5% of respondents reported taking on investors in 2011. In 2013, that number more than tripled to 18%.

Why UC strategies are growing more popular

Urgent care centers are changing non-emergency healthcare because they offer lower costs for patients, shorter wait times, fast service and extended hours. They provide treatments that can keep people out of hospitals — and that can save a lot of money. And more patients are experiencing urgent care centers. According to the UCAOA, greater than 80% of urgent care centers reported growing organically through an increase in patient visits from the 2011 calendar year to 2013.

Also, many newly insured patients from the Affordable Care Act are not accustomed to traditional healthcare environments and seem to prefer the clinics’ more casual and convenient settings.

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