- Phoenix-based FastMed Urgent Care has signed a definitive agreement to acquire NextCare Holdings of America, a Mesa, Arizona-based provider of urgent care and occupational medical services.
- The combined company will have 251 clinics in 10 states — merging FastMed's 110 clinics in Arizona, Texas and North Carolina with NextCare's 141 in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming.
- The deal, which is subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to close within 60 days.
The shift to value-based care and greater use of alternative care sites is one factor fueling growth in urgent care centers. Meanwhile, the million of Americans newly insured under the Affordable Care Act and a growing aging population has driven up emergency room volumes.
In a 2015 survey, 75% of emergency department physicians said visits had increased over the past year. The result is an overtaxed emergency staff and long wait times for patients. By contrast, urgent care offers medical care when and where patients need it and at a lower price point.
According to MarketsandMarkets, the global urgent care market will reach $26 billion by 2023, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 5.3%. Driving growth are lower costs and shorter wait times, growing investment in the sector, aging of populations and strategic partnerships between urgent care providers and hospitals.
In July, Morristown, New Jersey-based Atlantic Health System and MedExpress partnered to improve urgent care access and care coordination between the companies. The collaboration will allow MedExpress' urgent care patients to get care at an Atlantic Health facility if more advanced care is needed.
And in October, Walgreens announced a strategic collaboration with Michigan-based McLaren Health Care aimed at improving health and pharmacy services. The vertical pact came as CVS Health and Aetna were wrapping up their megamerger.