09:04 pm
July 17, 2018

Get a Doctor … STAT

Get a Doctor … STAT

Shortage of primary physicians spurring growth of urgent-care facilities

MD Now is the largest and fastest growing independent provider of urgent care services in South Florida with locations conveniently located across Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. All of our clinics are open 8am – 8pm, 365 days per year, giving you easy access to care you can trust. Our patients are typically seen and treated in under an hour, without an appointment, making MD Now the ideal provider of the care you need when you need it the most.

Call them the health-care industry’s answer to Starbucks. They’re sprouting up wherever you look. You can find one at the mall or in the strip shopping center two minutes from your home. They’re called urgent-care centers, and they’ve become the medical preference for many patients and the darling of insurance companies.

They’re also creating competition for traditional medical practices as well as each other, with one chain soon to have 26 locations. Patients like them for their readily available appointments, and insurance companies like them because reimbursement costs are lower than hospital emergency rooms.

Most health insurance plans cover urgent-care centers, says Rachel Sapoznik, owner of the Sapoznik Insurance Agency in Miami – and actively encourage their use. “They promote them by having a lower co-payment than an ER visit,” she says. “It’s a big difference. An ER might have a $300 co-payment, but the highest I’ve seen at an urgent-care center is $75.”

Sapoznik points to two reasons for the huge growth spurt. “The main reason is there’s a shortage of primary-care physicians,” she says. “These urgent-care centers have become your line of defense.” Plus, she says, “there’s never a long wait.”

Rashid, OmarSapoznik says patients seeking medical attention need to be mindful when selecting an urgent-care facility. Some hospitals are opening what they call urgent-care centers but are essentially off-site emergency rooms. “You need to make sure it’s really an urgent-care center,” she says. “You’ve got to be careful. You get billed and it’s a problem. Let the buyer beware.”

All in all, Sapoznik says patients seem to like using urgent-care centers. “When we interview our clients, they’re happy with the services,” she says. However, she voices a concern echoed by others in the medical community: “If someone has a longstanding, serious medical condition, they need to maintain continuity of medical care with their primary doctor. They should not look at urgent-care centers as taking the place of their primary doctors.”

Luis Bellmas, Baptist Health South Florida’s vice president for outpatient services, agrees. “Our philosophy is all patients should have a primary-care physician,” he says. “Urgent-care centers are for episodic care.”

Baptist Health, headquartered in Coral Gables, has 17 urgent-care centers listed on its website – as far north as Coral Springs.

Rachel Sapoznik“We actually opened our first one in 1990,” Bellmas says. “The initial reason was to decompress our ERs. They were very busy. The phenomenon has caught on. Patients love the quick turnaround. We noticed a lot of patients were coming from different areas. We wanted them closer to where people live and work. We were even getting patients from Broward County.”

Bellmas says the push today is for more outpatient services. “It’s more affordable and seems to be the way to go,” he says, adding urgent-care centers are fine for minor illnesses and minor surgeries. “It’s for those who don’t require full-blown ER services. We can do all the diagnostic workups.”

There are differences between hospital centers and independent centers, Bellmas says. “Some non-hospital (-affiliated) urgent-care centers might not be accredited,” he says. “They may or may not follow ER guidelines. Hospital urgent-care centers will treat everyone; not everyone does. Hospitals are typically accredited, and comply with all standards.”

The biggest drawing card for urgent-care centers has been that they’re cheaper than a hospital ER, and have a comparatively short waiting time. Would that also be guaranteed with a hospital-owned urgent care center? “It depends on insurance benefits, Bellmas says. “It’s usually up to insurance.”

Bellmas says hospital-affiliated centers have some advantages over private, stand-alone facilities. “I think most hospital urgent-care centers would have more diagnostic services,” he says. “Typically, hospital urgent-care centers offer an expanded menu of services, and they’re accredited.”

Fort Lauderdale’s Holy Cross Hospital expects to open its third urgent care and imaging center – its second location in Boca Raton – on Aug. 15.

“It’s basically to extend our geographic footprint,” says Mark Dissette, Holy Cross senior vice president and HealthPlex administrator. In addition to the 350 physicians the Holy Cross network has throughout Broward and Palm Beach counties, he says his organization also is establishing a presence with both urgent-care centers and imaging centers.

Jodi Laurence, co-founder of Florida Health Law Center, says her clients who have opened urgent-care centers seem to be doing well. She says opening one is not difficult. “It really depends what state you’re in,” she says. “In Florida, anybody can own a medical business. It’s like a medical office. In Florida, one doesn’t have to be a doctor to open one.”

Laurence says clinics are growing because of demand, yet there are differences, compared to hospital emergency rooms. “They cannot treat emergencies,” Laurence says. “If someone has a heart attack, an ER is required to stabilize that person. An urgent-care center doesn’t have to do that. They don’t have to take Medicaid. They don’t have the same obligations.”

Urgent-care centers do not necessarily have to have a doctor on site, but they are required to have a medical director who oversees day-to-day functions. In terms of rules and regulations, urgent-care centers are treated as medical offices. “Health care is highly regulated,” she says. “Medicare is highly regulated. There’s oversight by the state. A clinic license is required. The feds will also have oversight.”

Starting one, she says, is “just a matter of hanging up a shingle.”

Many urgent-care centers have a family doctor on site to treat routine medical problems, but one Miami-based group of urgent-care centers is specialized. OrthoNow treats only orthopedic and sports-related injuries.

OrthoNow was founded in 2010 in Doral by physician Alejandro Badia. It has six locations, some owned partly by Badia; others are franchises. “The orthopedic industry is huge,” Badia says. “This way, you’re seeing the right person at the right time. It costs less money. It alleviates the time to be treated.”

Badia says all OrthoNow facilities have X-ray machines and other imaging equipment on site. The company began franchising in 2014 and has seen growing demand. He says a patient seeking medical treatment for an orthopedic injury might otherwise have to wait weeks and months to get an appointment with a specialist.

One of the largest non-hospital-affiliated urgent-care centers is MD Now Urgent Care, which has 23 – soon, 26 – centers throughout South Florida. The company’s founder and CEO, physician Peter Lamelas, says his group is the largest urgent-care center provider in South Florida.

Lamelas says MD Now’s greatest asset is having a doctor on site at all locations, although nurse practitioners and physician assistants also treat patients. Like others in the industry, he says cost is the main driver of his company’s growth. Emergency rooms “can cost you an arm and a leg,” he says, adding MD Now posts its prices in the waiting rooms and has contracts with most insurance companies, with an average co-payment of $50.

He says if patients come to one of MD Now’s centers with a serious emergency, a doctor can stabilize the situation and send them to an ER. Mainly, he says, urgent-care centers are a quick substitute for traditional family physicians, when there’s an immediate need for one. “There are a lot of people here in South Florida who don’t really need a primary-care doctor,” he says. “They’re young and healthy.” 

Please follow and like us:

79 comments

  • I just want to say I am just very new to blogging and site-building and really enjoyed this blog site. Most likely I’m want to bookmark your website . You amazingly have superb article content. Thank you for sharing with us your blog.

    Reply
  • I have been surfing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all site owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be much more useful than ever before.

    Reply
  • My brother recommended I might like this website. He was entirely right. This post truly made my day. You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

    Reply
  • Good site! I really love how it is easy on my eyes and the data are well written. I’m wondering how I could be notified when a new post has been made. I’ve subscribed to your RSS feed which must do the trick! Have a great day!

    Reply
  • Somebody necessarily help to make seriously posts I might state. That is the first time I frequented your website page and up to now? I amazed with the analysis you made to create this actual put up extraordinary. Great process!

    Reply
  • Just wish to say your article is as astounding. The clarity in your post is simply cool and i could assume you’re an expert on this subject. Well with your permission let me to grab your RSS feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please continue the gratifying work.

    Reply
  • I was just searching for this information for a while. After six hours of continuous Googleing, at last I got it in your website. I wonder what’s the lack of Google strategy that don’t rank this type of informative sites in top of the list. Generally the top websites are full of garbage.

    Reply
  • Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your website and in accession capital to assert that I get in fact enjoyed account your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement you access consistently quickly.

    Reply
  • I have to express thanks to this writer for rescuing me from this instance. As a result of exploring throughout the internet and meeting solutions which are not productive, I assumed my life was done. Existing without the answers to the difficulties you’ve sorted out by way of this article content is a critical case, as well as those that would have badly affected my career if I hadn’t noticed your web page. Your personal capability and kindness in handling all the pieces was important. I am not sure what I would have done if I had not discovered such a solution like this. It’s possible to at this time look forward to my future. Thanks very much for the impressive and results-oriented help. I won’t be reluctant to refer your web page to anyone who should have guide on this issue.

    Reply
  • What i do not understood is in truth how you’re now not really much more neatly-liked than you may be right now. You’re so intelligent. You already know therefore considerably when it comes to this matter, produced me in my opinion consider it from a lot of varied angles. Its like women and men aren’t involved except it is something to accomplish with Woman gaga! Your own stuffs nice. All the time care for it up!

    Reply
  • Wow, amazing weblog layout! How long have you been running a blog for? you make blogging look easy. The full glance of your website is excellent, as smartly as the content material!

    Reply
  • Hiya, I am really glad I have found this information. Nowadays bloggers publish only about gossips and web and this is actually irritating. A good web site with exciting content, this is what I need. Thank you for keeping this web site, I’ll be visiting it. Do you do newsletters? Cant find it.

    Reply
  • I precisely wanted to thank you so much yet again. I do not know what I would’ve achieved without the actual ideas contributed by you relating to that theme. This was a very depressing circumstance in my position, however , encountering your specialised fashion you handled it forced me to cry with fulfillment. Extremely grateful for the service and as well , expect you really know what an amazing job you are always accomplishing teaching people today through your web blog. Probably you haven’t got to know all of us.

    Reply
  • I have been browsing online more than 3 hours these days, yet I by no means discovered any interesting article like yours. It is beautiful price enough for me. In my opinion, if all site owners and bloggers made excellent content as you did, the internet will probably be a lot more useful than ever before.

    Reply
  • I must express appreciation to you just for bailing me out of this particular setting. As a result of looking out through the the web and obtaining methods which were not productive, I believed my life was done. Existing without the presence of answers to the difficulties you have sorted out by way of your good posting is a serious case, as well as the ones which could have in a negative way affected my entire career if I hadn’t encountered your web site. Your talents and kindness in taking care of a lot of things was priceless. I’m not sure what I would’ve done if I had not discovered such a step like this. I can now relish my future. Thanks for your time very much for this high quality and sensible help. I won’t hesitate to propose your web site to any individual who requires guide about this topic.

    Reply
  • Hiya, I am really glad I’ve found this info. Nowadays bloggers publish just about gossips and net and this is really irritating. A good blog with exciting content, this is what I need. Thank you for keeping this web-site, I will be visiting it. Do you do newsletters? Cant find it.

    Reply
  • I enjoy you because of all your work on this web site. My mother takes pleasure in participating in investigations and it’s simple to grasp why. We learn all of the powerful ways you render informative steps on your website and even improve participation from other people on this concept plus my girl is certainly becoming educated a great deal. Enjoy the remaining portion of the new year. Your carrying out a really great job.

    Reply
  • Excellent post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed! Extremely helpful info specially the last part 🙂 I care for such info a lot. I was looking for this certain information for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.

    Reply
  • Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed! Extremely useful info particularly the last part 🙂 I care for such information a lot. I was looking for this particular information for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

    Reply
  • Hello, you used to write wonderful, but the last several posts have been kinda boring¡K I miss your great writings. Past few posts are just a little out of track! come on!

    Reply
  • Excellent blog here! Also your web site loads up fast! What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

    Reply
  • Awsome post and straight to the point. I don’t know if this is truly the best place to ask but do you folks have any ideea where to get some professional writers? Thanks 🙂

    Reply
  • Hiya, I’m really glad I’ve found this info. Today bloggers publish only about gossips and net and this is really annoying. A good blog with interesting content, this is what I need. Thank you for keeping this website, I will be visiting it. Do you do newsletters? Cant find it.

    Reply
  • This is very interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your wonderful post. Also, I have shared your site in my social networks!

    Reply
  • I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to see a great blog like this one nowadays..

    Reply
  • Wow, incredible blog structure! How long have you ever been running a blog for? you make blogging look easy. The full glance of your site is fantastic, let alone the content!

    Reply
  • Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed! Extremely useful information particularly the last part 🙂 I care for such information a lot. I was seeking this certain info for a long time. Thank you and good luck.

    Reply
  • certainly like your web site however you need to test the spelling on quite a few of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I to find it very troublesome to tell the truth then again I will certainly come again again.

    Reply
  • Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this is excellent blog. A great read. I will certainly be back.

    Reply
  • There a few intriguing points with time in this post but I don’t know if all of them center to heart. There exists some validity but I will take hold opinion until I take a look at it further. Excellent write-up , thanks and that we want a lot more! Added onto FeedBurner likewise

    Reply
  • Thanks for all your valuable efforts on this blog. Ellie delights in managing investigation and it’s really simple to grasp why. A number of us notice all relating to the lively tactic you offer both useful and interesting ideas by means of the website and encourage contribution from some others on the area of interest plus our daughter is without question starting to learn a lot. Take advantage of the remaining portion of the new year. You are carrying out a wonderful job.

    Reply
  • hello there and thank you for your info – I have definitely picked up anything new from right here. I did however expertise several technical points using this website, as I experienced to reload the website lots of times previous to I could get it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your hosting is OK? Not that I am complaining, but slow loading instances times will sometimes affect your placement in google and can damage your high-quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords. Well I’m adding this RSS to my e-mail and can look out for much more of your respective exciting content. Ensure that you update this again very soon..

    Reply
  • I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a great blog like this one these days..

    Reply
  • Hello there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it is truly informative. I am going to watch out for brussels. I will appreciate if you continue this in future. Lots of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

    Reply
  • You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be actually something which I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and very broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

    Reply
  • Hello, Neat post. There’s a problem with your website in web explorer, would check this¡K IE nonetheless is the market leader and a big portion of people will miss your great writing due to this problem.

    Reply
  • you are in reality a good webmaster. The site loading speed is amazing. It sort of feels that you are doing any unique trick. Furthermore, The contents are masterwork. you have performed a wonderful activity in this subject!

    Reply
  • I was just searching for this info for some time. After six hours of continuous Googleing, finally I got it in your website. I wonder what’s the lack of Google strategy that do not rank this type of informative web sites in top of the list. Generally the top websites are full of garbage.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *