By: Lea Chatham Urgent care clinics are a fast growing specialty in the US. One physician saw a growing need and opened a clinic quickly and efficiently by choosing the right location along with the righttechnology.
By: Lea Chatham
Urgent-care clinics are a growing industry in the U.S. Currently, there are nearly 10,000 across the country. Theo Felts, a family practice physician, had been working in an urgent-care clinic in Kansas and saw the trend firsthand. He also saw an opportunity.
“I wanted to do my own thing,” Felts recalled. “I looked for a community that was large enough to support an independent urgent care and could benefit from that service. We saw a lot of patients from Louisburg who were driving 20-30 minutes for care. It seemed like there was need that I could fill.”
In February 2014 he opened MediQuick Urgent Care in Louisburg, Kan. The goal was to provide immediate care to patients seven days a week, no appointment needed. The clinic offers extended hours and strives to get patients in and out quickly, without the high expense of an emergency room visit. Three providers see an average of about 10 patients aday and that number is steadily growing.
Once Felts decided to open the MediQuick Urgent Care, he knew he needed to figure out his billing system and EHR. He wanted a solution that would allow the clinic to quickly register patients, document visits, and stay on top of the billing. It also needed to be affordable and easy to get up and running. He asked his biller what he would recommend for the new urgent-care clinic.
Felts’ biller immediately suggested a cloud-based, integrated practice management, billing, and EHR solution from a vendor he’d used before. It turned out to be an ideal system for the urgent care setting. “The check-in process is faster than any other system I have used,” said Felts. “The EHR is also very fast and easy. We’re able to document the information we need for the visit and to ensure accurate billing very quickly.”
A flexible EHR was important to the providers. Felts prefers to do his notes free text while one of his NPs prefers to use the system templates. They have been able to set favorites for medications and pharmacies to further simplify and speed up the visit.
The integration of systems simplifies billing for the small clinic. “We submit our electronic superbills at the end of the visit and my biller submits them most days,” explained Felts. “We also use the integrated stripe credit card processing to collect copays at the time of service and post those directly to the patient account and print a receipt.” This has all been critical since 90 percent of the clinic’s patients have insurance.
As a result, the average days in A/R is generally around 30 and they have less than two percent overall denials and less than one percent for electronic claims. “When we do have a denial it is usually because of some new practice or credentialing mix up,” Felts said. Those instances are fewer and farther between as the practice grows and gets established.
Things have worked out so well that Felts is looking at opening another location in a town with similar needs. I feel like I have found a niche in this community, and I think that I have identified other communities with a similar need,” he said. He added he has just the right mix of low competition, high need, experience, and software and support.
Starting a new business is never easy, but according to Dr. Felts, “Having the right software sure makes it easier.” And he added, “I can take it for granted. It works well for us, and it will work exactly the same way in another location as it does here. I don’t have to worry or think about it. I can focus on building my business and growing to serve more patients and not really think about my software.”