Rural Hospitals Need Help, Urgent Care Fills the Gap
July 23, 2020

Small rural hospitals typically experience budget cuts, so to combat this, they scale back on services in an effort to combat these unfortunate circumstances. Sometimes, they are forced to merge with larger healthcare systems. Urgent care centers, or retail medicine, can overcome patient care access concerns in areas that, medically, are underserved. In this article, we will cover the ins-and-outs of the urgent care business, how retail medicine assists hospitals, and what to do when you’re ready to start your own profitable urgent care business.

How Urgent Care Provides Needed Services

Urgent care centers can help fill in the gap by providing an access point for medical conditions to be treated on an outpatient basis. Urgent care centers typically attend to emergency situations that are not life-threatening, such as broken bones or cuts. The cost typically ranges from $100 to $300, depending on the level of care provided, as well as patient insurance. The average cost of treatments at a retail clinic is at least 30% to 40% less than at a physician’s office. Urgent care centers, while limited in the care they are able to provide, are suitable not just for cuts and broken bones, but for treating colds, allergic reactions, strep, pink eye, ear infections, and other illnesses. They are usually open at all hours and don’t require an appointment. On average, urgent care facilities are less expensive than a trip to the emergency room. Major medical plans can sometimes cover an urgent care visit. Sometimes, urgent care centers are called retail health clinics, because they are located within retail stores, such as Rite Aid. Thus, the term “retail medicine” was coined.

COVID-19 and the Role Urgent Care Plays

An unexpected fallout due to COVID-19 is that many individuals are avoiding healthcare services entirely. As a result, they are not being given vital medical care, which is damaging to long-term health. Urgent care centers relieve stress on emergency rooms and hospitals. In the past, testing took place at hospitals. Retail medicine can help divert cases from emergency rooms and provides much-needed additional space, without patients being concerned about the presence of those who may be afflicted with COVID-19. If in-person, non-emergency care is needed, retail medicine provides a safe haven. For patients experiencing abdominal pain, bone fractures, head injury, or sudden headaches, it is advised to get to an urgent care clinic immediately. Many clinics now offer drive-up care so patients can get the help they need and still maintain social distancing.

How Much Does it Cost to Start an Urgent Care?

Retail medicine is a valuable asset to rural hospitals in need of help and provides much-needed medical care for non-emergencies. In light of what’s been covered here, you may be asking, what does it cost to start an urgent care clinic? Taking all the various startup costs into consideration, which includes supplies, the average cost is around $850,000 to $1 million. Establishing a retail medicine clinic can be daunting. Months of planning need to involved before attempting to launch a successful clinic. However, there are urgent care business consulting professionals whose sole job it is to assist you. They can guide you in your financial planning, marketing strategies for urgent care centers, and ensure you have the proper information to open a retail medicine clinic. Managing an urgent care clinic requires skill and know-how. Urgent care business consulting experts can ensure your clinic will not fail and will provide essential care to patients in need in the near future.

Any business venture requires careful planning, urgent care is no different. Armed with the facts, you can begin the process to open your clinic and be about the business of helping others.