Given our experiences with clients that we have assisted, we have identified 10 critical mistakes that many prospective urgent care operators make in establishing their new urgent care center:
1. Selecting the wrong location: This is a retail business as much as it is medical. Location defines success in this sector. Ease of access, the right market demographic, appropriate and supportive surrounding retail, access, signage and facility appearance all define the business as much as anything that goes on inside the facility.
2. Insufficient capital: It isn’t cheap to get into this business and those that try to cut corners end up paying a steep price.
3. Mistakes in hiring staff: Operators need to have an efficient and well trained staff. Hiring relatives or those close to you is a common mistake. Look for qualifications that match your needs and don’t settle for convenient relationships.
4. Facility design mistakes: Designing a facility in such a way that it is inefficient or too costly is a common mistake. Often these decisions are felt for lengthy lease terms and cannot be reversed. Learn from the mistakes and success of others.
5. Unrealistic business plan: Designing a plan on overstated revenues and understated expenses happens more often than most realize. A plan is only as good as the detail that backs it up….and research and confirmation are critical
6. Failing to understand the local payor market/opportunities: People see urgent care centers and begin to think that it must a great business because there are so many cropping up around them. In truth, many metropolitan markets are overcrowded with urgent care centers today. Proper market research is where all new projects must begin and knowing who is in the market and the needs for new entrants is a critical element.
7. Not enough time allowed to prepare for opening (credentialing/contract negotiations): Cash is king in all new ventures. Getting credentialed and contracted with major payor plans is a must….and you don’t open up until you are or are well on the way.
8. Poor selection and/or adaptation to EMR/PM technology: Lots of money and time have been wasted on electronic medical records and practice management technology that is not designed for urgent care. Any system in this environment must be both streamlined and have a robust reporting system. Speed is a key ingredient in urgent care…so having an efficient medical record is a must for providers in this setting.
9. Provider selection and establishing compensation plans: This is a touchy subject for providers but it must be covered up front in setting a business, especially if the ones setting up are also the ones that will be staffing the urgent care operations. Its much harder to correct a flawed compensation methodology than it is to set it up right in the first place.
10. Failing to establish appropriate up-front collections practices: Over twenty percent (20%) of the typical urgent care center’s cash comes from payments collected from patients at the time of service. Establishing a process and procedure of assuring that this is done properly could define success and failure in the business.
UCAdvisors is experienced at dealing with all these issues and can assist a start up urgent operator to avoid the pitfalls that have negatively affected the results of others.