Defined as “healthcare provided on a walk‐in, no‐appointment basis for acute illness or injury that is not life or limb threatening, and is either beyond the scope or availability of the typical primary care practice or retail clinic” urgent care centers (UCCs) are typically staffed by physicians, have x-ray and (stat) lab equipment, and can perform minor procedures such as suturing and bone casts. The range of services, as well as staffing levels may vary by location. UCCs represent an alternative to emergency departments as well as to physician offices, which have limited accessibility, especially on nights and weekends. Urgent Care centers are branded under multiple terms including: urgent care, immediate care, walk-in care and convenient care.
National estimates on the number of dedicated urgent care center settings are broad and range from 4000 to 9,000 Urgent Care centers, according to the Urgent Care Association of America. These same studies estimate between 70 and 160 million Urgent Care center visits per year, or the equivalent of 17,750 visits/center (48.6/day). The UCAOA indicates that there are 6,400 Urgent Care centers in the United States. Ownership of Urgent Care centers has been historically led by local physicians/physician groups (35%) and hospitals (25%), although in recent years small number of private for-profit entities have grown rapidly. To view this report in full go to A Case for Retail Healthcare.