Policy battles in Washington, D.C., can seem very far away from the day-to-day activity of taking care of patients. Many of us chose this profession because we wanted to make a direct, immediate impact on people's lives. In contrast, the political process is slow-moving and often frustrating. However, orthopaedic surgeons can achieve real policy successes when we get involved.
Urgent message: Payment models seem to evolve as quickly as the urgent care markets itself. Keeping up to speed is essential for continued growth in revenue—if not survival. Here, we weigh the relative merits of some of the most common reimbursement models.
I still vividly remember the protocol for a CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis from 1993. “Give two cups of barium to drink one hour prior to scanning, two cups 30 minutes prior to scanning and one cup on the table just before scanning,” it read. “Parameters included 5-mm scans with a 1.5-mm pitch helically, from domes of the diaphragm to the iliac crest with axial images through the pelvis.” These were the notes handwritten by our chief radiologist for each and every patient requiring the protocol. There were never any shortcuts taken or shorthand used; each protocol was painstakingly written.
More and more medical procedures are moving to the strip mall, thanks to high-deductible insurance plans that are turning patients into penny-pinchers.Hospital systems like Edward-Elmhurst Health are reacting, hedging their bets on what have been lucrative captive practices. Last year it invested $7 million in an outpatient MRI provider that is now poised to grow with backing from another hospital system.
Urgent message: Availability of hospital-affiliated urgent care can not only lower the burden on overcrowded EDs, but also help capture new business and keep existing patients within the health system.
Hospitals have operated urgent care centers for over 25 years; today, estimates of how many centers are affiliated with hospitals range from 15% to 20%.
Becker's Healthcare is pleased to recognize the following 60 CEOs, presidents and administrators of critical access hospitals. The men and women included on this list are at the helm of organizations regularly recognized for safety and quality. Many led their hospitals through expansions, mergers and EHR implementations. The individuals on this list are also key members of the community, serving on corporate boards and state-level initiatives to improve access to care.