NAPERVILLE, Ill., March 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA) announced today the creation of a national accreditation and certification program for the urgent care industry. The UCAOA represents the largest membership of urgent care centers and the multi-disciplinary individuals working with and for the urgent care industry in the United States.
UCAOA Accreditation is the first of its kind to recognize not only the more traditional accreditation process of quality and safety but also the scope of services provided by urgent care centers. UCAOA established its own program based on its objective to instill a greater focus on the nuances and uniqueness of the industry. The program also demonstrates the urgent care industry's commitment to offering a systematic and consistent scope of care, quality and safety across all centers.
"The urgent care industry is experiencing explosive growth and strong demand from consumers who want convenient, affordable and quality healthcare," said Dr. Nate Newman, president of the UCAOA Board of Directors. "There is tremendous merit in evaluating the industry and striving for higher quality and standards of care. This accreditation process solidifies and builds upon our commitment to delivering the highest quality care whenever a patient visits one of our certified and accredited centers."
Urgent care centers provide walk-in, extended-hour access for acute illness and injury care that is either beyond the scope or the availability of the typical primary care practice or clinic. On average, an urgent care center receives 357 patient visits per week, which translates to more than 3 million patients per week or 160 million patients annually nationwide.
Among the most common conditions treated in urgent care centers are fevers, upper respiratory infections, sprains and strains, lacerations, contusions and back pain. Most centers also treat fractures and provide intravenous fluids, as well as offer onsite X-ray and lab services. Urgent care centers do not care for life (or limb) threatening situations, but will stabilize patients in need of emergency transport. The majority of urgent care centers employ family practice and emergency physicians, as well as non-physician practitioners, including registered nurses, X-ray technicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners. A confluence of macroeconomic trends including chronic emergency room overcrowding and limited access to primary care physicians has driven continued industry growth and demand. By 2020, there will be a shortage of approximately 45,000 primary care physicians, further underscoring the vital role urgent care centers play in the healthcare delivery landscape.
Under the new accreditation program, urgent care centers will be required to meet or ideally exceed UCAOA standards around key operational and clinical care matters including governance, human resources, patient care processes, quality improvement, physical environment, health record management, and patient privacy/rights/and responsibilities standards. These will be measured through comprehensive site tours administered by an independent third party with experience working in urgent care, interviews with patients and staff and other qualitative and quantitative assessments.
"The UCAOA mission states, in part, 'We exist to advance and distinguish the role of urgent care medicine as a healthcare destination.' The UCAOA Accreditation Program serves our members as well as the patient population and is perfectly aligned with our purpose," said Laurel Stoimenoff, vice president of the UCAOA Board of Directors and co-chair of the Accreditation and Certification Committee. "Additionally, accreditation is important to differentiating centers who meet the criteria from others in the marketplace, establishing a baseline definition for expected care and, in many cases, enabling centers to qualify for in-network care for most providers. We encourage our members and all urgent care centers to pursue this unique recognition."
More details regarding the accreditation were announced at the UCAOA National Urgent Care Convention in Las Vegas including recognizing the first UCAOA Accredited Centers, Advantage Care Physicians of Staten Island, N.Y., and DocNow Urgent Care of Rochester Hills, Minn.
For more details about the program, to receive an informational packet, or to apply as an early adopter and get your center started toward this unique recognition, visit www.ucaoa.org or contact the UCAOA staff at 331-472-3739.
About the Urgent Care Association of America
The Urgent Care Association of America is a membership association for urgent care health and management professionals, clinics and those who support the urgent care industry. UCAOA provides educational programs in clinical care and practice management, has a monthly Journal of Urgent Care Medicine and maintains an active online presence and member community for daily exchange of best practices. UCAOA provides leadership, education and resources for the successful practice of urgent care for its members. For more information visit www.ucaoa.org.
SOURCE Urgent Care Association of America