Patients, payers and partnerships: Trends show accreditation benefiting healthcare organizations

Passing tough accreditation standards may lead to competitive advantage among stakeholders

In the past decade, the number of convenient and affordable healthcare options – including urgent care, telemedicine, retail clinics and on-site work clinics – has greatly increased. This has led to steep competition among these on-demand options, leaving patients and payers to navigate the complex choices for appropriate medical care. One solution gaining traction among urgent care centers is the pursuit of accreditation because it demonstrates a commitment to quality, safety and scope of care provided.

Urgent care organizations are achieving accreditation to validate to patients that their centers are a trustworthy choice for non-life-threatening medical needs, while at the same time demonstrating value to payers and potential partners. Urgent care accreditation is crucial to gaining that competitive advantage, propelling the industry and committed organizations to the top of this crowded healthcare space.

Only awarded to organizations that meet or exceed rigorous standards and best practices, and provide a robust scope of care, UCAOA accreditation addresses a variety of administrative and clinical areas – influencing quality, safety and services provided. Real world examples prove that accreditation distinguishes organizations and provides many benefits across the business.

Increasing Patient Trust
In order to achieve increased levels of patient trust and excellence, CityMD – one of the nation’s largest urgent care organizations with over 80 locations, and a staff of 300 providers and 1,500 personnel – turned to urgent care accreditation to serve its more than one million annual patients with the highest levels of trust, capabilities and excellence.

“We wanted to take the bull by the horns and become one of the largest urgent care organizations to achieve accreditation. We knew it would give us an extra layer of patient trust and demonstrate our excellence," said Dr. David Shih, executive vice president on health and strategy innovation and co-founder of CityMD.

Accreditation is key to the goal of providing convenient access to high quality, evidence-based medical care. With consumer behavior changing, patients are more likely to select cost-effective, high-quality providers. It’s simple: urgent care accreditation is a trustworthy “seal of approval” for patients – and potential partners.

Driving Partnerships
When PhysicianOne Urgent Care and Yale New Haven Health System partnered, Yale New Haven Health looked to the nationally-recognized urgent care accreditation guidelines to confirm PhysicianOne Urgent Care’s commitment to quality care and safety, bringing together one of the most comprehensive healthcare systems in the nation.

“PhysicianOne Urgent Care is proud to hold the distinction of urgent care accreditation. This distinction demonstrates – to our patients and partners, including Yale New Haven Health – our commitment to meeting or exceeding national standards for quality care and patient safety,” said Dr. Jeannie Kenkare, co-founder and chief medical officer of PhysicianOne Urgent Care.

In addition, urgent care accreditation reinforces practices and discipline the urgent care industry already had in place, while adding another element of trust with its patients and satisfying payers.

Enhancing Payer Relationships
With healthcare trending towards a value-based system – not to mention stricter accreditation requirements by some payers – urgent care organizations must demonstrate worth and quality more than ever.

“As health plans are faced with evaluating and distinguishing urgent care providers, we have seen them require urgent care accreditation in other states to become credentialed to serve their members,” said Lynne Rosen, CEO of PhysicianOne Urgent Care.

The full potential of the value-based model will only be realized when urgent care centers are included in payer networks. The demand for urgent care stems from all corners of the healthcare industry, and payer networks can trust that they can leverage accredited urgent care centers to make a strong impact on population health and wellness.

Accreditation is Excellence
Healthcare professionals strive to provide an exceptional patient experience to as many members of their communities as possible, and the best urgent care organizations build on that goal when they achieve accreditation. This is both beneficial to their patients and rewarding for their staff.

“As an unexpected added value, accreditation was a morale booster with great collaboration that brought us even closer together. So, we not only are proud that we achieved accreditation, we are proud of the way all our team members met this challenge,” said CityMD’s Dr. Shih.

Added Rosen, “As we’ve entered new markets, urgent care accreditation has helped consumers, local physician partners, and health plans, alike, recognize PhysicianOne Urgent Care as a high-quality and trusted healthcare provider.”

UCAOA accreditation clearly helps organizations such as PhysicianOne Urgent Care and CityMD increase patient trust, enhance payer relationships and build partnerships. It affirms the commitment to quality, safety, scope of care and excellent clinical outcomes demanded by the urgent care industry.


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