Urgent Care Visits Increase

Urgent Care Visits IncreasePeople are visiting urgent care centers for minor illnesses and injuries more than ever. That’s according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in September 2018. Researchers say that between 2008 and 2015, visits to urgent care clinics increased by 119 percent. During that same period, emergency room visits for noncritical conditions, like those treated at urgent care centers, fell by 36 percent.

Lower out-of-pocket costs, convenience, and shorter wait times are the main reasons for the shift from emergency room care to urgent care, the study’s authors say. Emergency room care can be expensive, so many insurance plans have created incentives to encourage patients to receive care elsewhere. At the same time, in response to patients’ expectations for more convenience and shorter wait times, alternative care facilities, such as urgent care centers and retail clinics, have seen an increase in growth. As urgent care centers rise in popularity, they become more accepted as credible alternative venues in communities.

However, the increase in urgent care visits doesn’t necessarily mean that people are opting for urgent care centers over emergency rooms, researchers say. Given that the use of acute care facilities rose by 31 percent during the study period, and health care spending per person per year rose by 14 percent, it may be that people are simply getting more medical care than they used to. That’s partly due to the proliferation of urgent care centers, which may attract patients who otherwise wouldn’t have sought medical attention. Consider that, according to a recent report, there are more than 9,000 urgent care facilities in the country.

As urgent care services grow and evolve, the market becomes increasingly competitive, and to distinguish themselves, more centers are choosing to hire physicians who are board certified in urgent care. Patients may not be familiar with the stringent requirements for board certification, but they certainly understand that it’s a mark of a physician’s expertise, and thus, they can be confident of receiving expert care at a facility that has certified physicians on staff. In view of this, when an urgent care center hires physicians certified in the specialty, it’s in an ideal position to market itself as a leading choice for medical treatment.

In addition to boosting the prestige of urgent care centers, board-certified physicians demonstrate to the public that they have mastered the skills and knowledge required to deliver exceptional urgent care. The American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS) offers certification in urgent care through its Member Board, the Board of Certification in Urgent Care Medicine (BCUCM). The BCUCM is the nation’s first multi-specialty member board completely dedicated to providing board certification to qualified physicians who specialize in urgent care medicine. BCUCM Diplomates are considered leaders in their field and are on the staff of well-established urgent care facilities across the country.

To learn more about the benefits of board certification through the BCUCM, or about eligibility requirements, contact the ABPS today.

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Medical organizations throughout North America understand that our rigorous certification standards prove that ABPS Diplomates are capable of delivering the best patient care possible.

When I think historically, advancement in medicine and patient safety and care has been driven by the diversity of people and scientific thought. That’s what I found at the ABPS and more. For over 60 years that is just who we are. I found a physician certifying body that provides a choice and voice to all physicians ensuring that patients are always placed first.

Jerry Allison, MD
Emergency Medicine
When I decided to pursue a full time role as a physician executive it was important to me to obtain additional professional training, education and work experience. Board certification through the ABPS in Administrative Medicine is validation of my efforts and a demonstration of dedication to professional development. We need more physicians to become full time health care executives, knowing there is a board certification option in Administrative Medicine encourages physicians to take the leap from full time clinical practice to healthcare organizational leadership.

Richard Paula, MD
Administrative Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has provided me with the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of internal medicine through board certification. As a hospitalist, board certification is an expected credential, and hospitals recognize the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) as one of the three standard credentialling bodies for Internal Medicine. Additionally, the ABPS has helped me develop leadership skills as a Board member and Committee Chairperson. ABPS has also helped me sharpen critical thinking skills as a test question developer and reviewer. The Allopathic (MD) and Osteopathic (DO) physicians in the ABPS are lifelong learners and frequently pursue multiple board certifications. I enjoy the camaraderie of my peers in ABPS.

Loren Jay Chassels, DO
Internal Medicine