SPUC’s Reading Room
The Boom of Pediatric Urgent Care
The rapid growth of pediatric urgent care is elegantly illustrated in a recent report from FAIR Health. From 2007-2016 urgent care centers saw a 1,725% increase in claim lines, in contrast to a much slower growth rate of 229% for emergency room (ER) claim lines. About 25% of all the urgent care claim lines were for the pediatric age group (0-18 years) and pediatric patients represent a higher percentage of claim lines in urgent cares than they do in emergency rooms (15%), or in retail clinics (15%). The high proportion of pediatric urgent care visits in comparison to ERs and retail clinics highlights the demand for, and necessity of, specialized pediatric urgent care.
Other points of interest from the report include the most common reasons for visits to the urgent care (for all age groups) were upper respiratory infection (27%) and general symptoms (fever, malaise). In contrast to retail clinics, which also commonly see URI and general symptom complaints, a higher proportion of urgent care visits are for injuries, joint and soft tissue issues, skin infections, strains, sprains and fractures. Interestingly, even though the average charged amount is greater for urgent care compared to office visits, the allowed charges for office visits and urgent care visits are similar. Readers may be interested in perusing the eye-catching graphs in this report that illustrate the growth of urgent care.
FAIR Health is “a national, independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing transparency to healthcare costs and health insurance information through data products, consumer resources and health systems research support.”
Other Recent Articles & Podcasts of Interest
- Pediatric Referrals to an Emergency Department From Urgent Care Centers – When to go: Emergency Room vs. Urgent Care
- Pediatric Emergency Playbook – Strep throat review in podcast form from Pediatric Emergency Playbook – includes discussion
of pre- and post-test probability.
- Preventing Medication Errors in the Urgent Care Center – Preventing medication errors in urgent care. Journal of Urgent Care Medicine
- Opioid prescriptions for children with minor ailments linked to adverse events
- Please, Just STOP Limping – Nice review of the limping child from Pediatric Emergency Playbook – check out the podcast!
- High School Concussions – 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey