Urgent Care Association Responds to Criticism of UHC ER Policy

The recent criticism of UnitedHealthcare's ER policy plans (to review ER visits that were non-emergencies and consider changes in coverage) by the American Hospital Association and the American College of Emergency Physicians intimated that patient safety would be compromised if patients chose initially to be seen in a lower-cost site of care, such as an urgent care center.

The Urgent Care Association (UCA) and College of Urgent Care Medicine (CUCM) would like to reassure their medical and administrative colleagues, and the public, that urgent care providers are qualified medical professionals - physicians and advanced practice clinicians - who have daily experience in evaluating, diagnosing and treating a wide variety of illnesses and injuries and which sometimes includes referring the patient to an emergency room. These professionals are fully qualified to determine when a patient belongs in a higher-level site of care and act accordingly in the best interests of the patient.

Urgent care centers also have administrative protocols in place to identify and manage clear emergencies immediately, ensuring the patient is safely handed off to Emergency Medical Technicians for care and transport to the ER.

UCA and CUCM believe that with collaboration across associations, patients, provider communities spanning the healthcare continuum, and payers, healthcare costs can be lowered without compromising patient safety, and look forward to the opportunity to continue to represent our members in those collaborations.

About the Urgent Care Association

The Urgent Care Association (UCA) is a membership association of leaders, providers, and suppliers in the field of on-demand, consumer-focused healthcare. UCA advances the industry and supports member success through advocacy, research, education, collaboration, and high standards of care. The association maintains an active online presence and member community for daily exchange of best practices. For more information, visit www.ucaoa.org.

About the College of Urgent Care Medicine

The College of Urgent Care Medicine (CUCM) was founded by physicians from the Urgent Care Association to provide a physician voice for the specialty. In 2016 the membership of CUCM expanded to include physician assistants and nurse practitioners and in 2020 to include all UCA clinician members. CUCM and UCA continue to work closely to advance the clinical practice of urgent care medicine. 

Source: Urgent Care Association

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