More Urgent Care Centers Coming to Arkansas

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Jul. 22, 2013 12:00 am  

Dr. John McLean, an owner of Velocity Care of Shreveport, said he sees adding more locations in central Arkansas if its Little Rock center is successful. (Photo by Mauren Kennedy)

How It Works

Among the services offered by Velocity are treatments for back pain, cold and flu symptoms and minor cuts and burns.

Like other urgent care facilities, Velocity accepts insurance but charges a flat fee of $115 to be seen by a doctor. Sherwood Urgent Care charges $85 to be seen by a doctor.

And they require payment from all patients, said Ayers, of the Urgent Care Association. Urgent care centers aren’t bound by the federal Emergency Medical Treatment & Active Labor Act, which requires hospitals to provide care to people who need emergency health care.

For patients who can’t pay, Ayers said, “the emergency rooms will continue to serve that population.”

Sherwood said insurance companies have become more receptive to urgent care centers. The centers save insurance carriers money by keeping people out of the emergency room and potentially keeping people out of the hospital, he said.

Spreading the Word

McLean said he plans to get the word out about Velocity Care, which is located at 1160 Chenal Parkway, Suite 5, through billboards and by talking to physicians so they’ll refer patients to urgent care.

“When the doctors realize that they’re not competing with us … they tend to begin to really like us,” McLean said.

He said patients at Velocity are treated and then referred back to their primary care doctors if follow-up visits are necessary. “We’re not taking their clients,” McLean said.

Urgent care centers are growing because they provide convenient access to health care, said Alwyn Cassil, a spokeswoman for the Center for Studying Health System Change.

“Everybody talks about patient-centered care … but sometimes it seems like the health care system is about everything but the patient,” she said.

By providing after-hours access to health care to people who work or can’t make it to their primary care physicians, the urgent care centers appear to have a niche, she said.

The centers are “growing rapidly because they’re succeeding in what they’re setting out to do, which is to attract patients,” Cassil said.

 

 

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