- UCSF Health is partnering with Golden Gate Urgent Care (GGUC) to provide care in GGUC’s six Bay Area locations, the two organizations announced Monday.
- The move is part of UCSF’s ongoing push to partner with providers in areas outside the specialized venue of an academic medical center.
- Past affiliations include Children’s Hospital Oakland (now UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland), John Muir Health, Washington Hospital Healthcare System, St. Mary’s Medical, St. Joseph Health and Hospice by the Bay.
Urgent care centers and other alternative care sites can offer alternative care settings at lower costs, making them a popular idea for consumers. According to a new National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, residents who live near a retail clinic are 12.3% less likely to visit an emergency room for the flu and 4.1% less likely to visit the ER to treat diabetes complications.
The annual savings from fewer ER visits amounts to more than $817,000 per 100,000 people, the authors wrote.
Such alliances can benefit hospitals. With million more Americans insured under the Affordable Care Act and an increasing aging population, ER volumes are swelling. Between 2008 and 2011, the number of patients visiting an ER rose 10% from 122.67 million to 136.3 million, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
By routing less emergent problems to an urgent care center, ERs can cut wait times and stress on ER staff and resources, enabling doctors to focus on patients who really need emergency care.
And hospitals are looking for more outpatient access as value-based trends shift from keeping patients in hospital beds to preventative care that seeks to minimize hospital visits.