NAPERVILLE, Ill., April 27, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the largest gathering of urgent care professionals in the country takes place in Chicago at the Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA) National Urgent Care Convention, where the association will kick off its Urgent Care Awareness Month celebrated in May. This comes on the heels of the anniversary of the Affordable Care Act – which caused a mass influx of newly-insured patients in the healthcare landscape.
In response, the growing urgent care industry continues to expand across the country. In addition to more than 6,400 centers nationwide, new centers are opening every week in convenient locations, with 83 percent* of existing centers expecting to expand services. These new centers are helping to meet the needs of consumers on their schedules while alleviating overcrowding in emergency rooms.
With this rapid growth, one thing is clear: consumers demand the convenience, high-quality care and affordability offered at urgent care centers.
However, many patients still are not aware of how valuable urgent care can be for a wide variety of common medical needs – which compelled UCAOA to declare this month of education and awareness at the national convention.
"We established Urgent Care Awareness Month to recognize the growth of the industry, and to let our neighbors all across the country know that urgent care centers are ready and available to make their lives easier and healthier," said P. Joanne Ray, Chief Executive Officer of UCAOA. "When you or someone in your family has a common illness, a non-life threatening injury, or one of many other medical needs, urgent care centers are great options."
Urgent care centers are an ideal choice for medical situations that require immediate attention, such as sprains, broken bones, flu, colds and other common illness. Consumers agree – as an average of 14,000 patients visit each urgent care center each year.
Urgent care is proving its vital role in the healthcare landscape – with surging growth to better serve the ever-increasing patient base. Consumers increasingly desire more flexibility from their healthcare providers and want convenient, affordable, high-quality treatment during the evenings and weekends – hours that work best for their schedules. Episodic illness or injury may demand medical attention at a time when a primary care provider cannot fit the patient in for a visit; urgent care serves that walk-in need.
With Urgent Care Awareness Month, UCAOA aims to educate consumers – and others in the healthcare industry – about the importance of urgent care in the healthcare spectrum.
"We want patients to know there are a growing number of local options for medical situations that require prompt attention, but are non-life threatening," said Ray. "While urgent care will never take the place of a primary care doctor for ongoing or chronic care, and is not a replacement for the emergency room in life- or limb-threatening situations, the thousands of urgent care centers across the country bridge the gap between these options and provide an affordable, convenient choice for many common medical issues."
Patients can find conveniently-located urgent care centers near them at: www.whereisurgentcare.com.
*The full 2014 Benchmarking Survey, which addresses other industry topics including differences in urgent care centers by region, characteristics of urgent care centers based on types of ownership and various revenue correlations, is available for purchase by both members and non-members – including media – on the UCAOA website here.
About the Urgent Care Association of America
The Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA) 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