Urgent care centers deserve fair payer reimbursement, trade and professional association says

In a position statement released Sept. 9, a trade and professional association emphasized the importance of urgent care centers and advocated providing them with fair payer reimbursement.

The Urgent Care Association said urgent care centers are crucial to the delivery of nonemergency and primary care services, offering patients walk-in access.

But the group contends these urgent care centers don't always receive fair payer reimbursement due to insurer contracts that often restrict the scope of services provided at urgent care centers as well as follow-up care.   

"Urgent care centers provide many of the same services offered by primary care providers, yet the disparity in copayments creates disincentives for patients to seek needed care," said Laurel Stoimenoff, CEO of the Urgent Care Association. "Plan designs should align copayments with those offered by traditional PCPs."

The association cited data reported by the CDC National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey that more than half of the 883 million outpatient office visits in 2016 were to primary care physicians.

"Our members are telling us that arbitrary contractual barriers are limiting them from acting in the best interest of their patients," said Ms. Stoimenoff. "As an example, many patients seek care in the urgent care center when traveling, yet some contracts deny any follow-up care, which makes no sense. There seems to be an assumption that everyone has a PCP or they have ready access to their PCP. When the practice of good medicine is at risk, we need to speak up."

The association has more than 3,300 U.S. members. 

For more information about the group's position, click here.  

 

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