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The last couple of years have been like nothing before in urgent care. Visit volumes pushed new limits, staff has been stretched thin, and clinics had to innovate if they wanted to keep up. And we know that so many of you did just that in a very impactful way.

That’s why Experity created the Limelight Awards. These peer-nominated industry awards honor forward-thinking urgent care heroes for taking center stage, spotlighting patient-first urgent care, innovating operations, and making an impact in their communities and on the industry.

There were three award categories:

  • Headline Award for Leadership Excellence – An urgent care leader who inspired clinic staff to excel during a year of change
  • Ovation Award for Staff Excellence – An urgent care professional that exhibited operational excellence
  • Showstopper Award for Industry Impact – An urgent care visionary that positively impacted the community and industry

We wish we could share every nomination with you, as they were all truly incredible. Choosing winners was no easy feat. To honor as many urgent care heroes as we can, and spread the word about what people are doing to make a difference, here are some highlights about our finalists.

These are truncated responses to questions answered by the finalists and/or the people who nominated them.

Headline Award for Leadership Excellence

Alicia McGuire accepting a Headliner Award for Leadership Excellence, office manager, Juneau Urgent & Family Care

WINNER! Alicia McGuire, Office Manager at Juneau Urgent and Family Care

Alicia was nominated by a colleague who stated, “[Alicia] kept two of the largest employers in town operational by performing regular testing of hundreds of patients, thousands of times during their two weeks on and two weeks off work rotations. This was no small feat as there were no PCR machines in town. We contracted with a laboratory outside of Seattle and were able to consistently provide COVID results within 48 hours. This was no small logistical feat as it entailed two courier companies and one flight per day. Given all those obstacles, she kept track of all samples with less than 0.25 error rate (mislabeled samples, lost samples, etc.)”

Here is what Alicia had to say.

How has your involvement with the community contributed to your success?

We service a remote community without easy access to resources. The only way in or out of Juneau is by boat or plane. It is a finite patient population, so having a positive PR image and involvement in as many community events (parades, fairs) and volunteering our services (free flu clinics and educational outreach) made all the difference in visit counts during strained and uncertain times. The community looked to our clinic for help when they needed it. We never once turned patients away or closed our doors, and that had a lasting effect on our staff and community.

What do you hope to see happen in your urgent care in the next year?

I would like to see an increase in utilization of technology, like walk-up vitals machines and patient connection devices to help supplement our in-clinic staff and increase our unique patient experience to provide more informed, consistent healthcare.


Adam Revere, Regional Director of Operations MedRite Urgent Care

How did this urgent care hero exhibit leadership excellence during 2021?

First and foremost, I cannot think of a leader in my 20 years of healthcare who’s exhibited more tireless resolve than Adam.  Not only does he spend the majority of his time in the field with center managers and colleagues, he makes it possible (while at one point 150 FTEs short) by working extra hours addressing his core priorities with patient experience/recruiting/organizing/delegating/recognizing.

Additionally, Adam exhibits incredible emotional intelligence and consistency. He’s always available and never forgets to come back to follow-up with someone or on something he started. Adam also mentors his team and has brought a number of individuals to the next level. In short, Adam is one of those unique leaders that brings an infectious positive energy to those around him.

How did this urgent care hero show agility and shift tactics to drive business value for the organization in 2021?

A few specific examples of agility include partnering with all levels of each MedRite department to elicit feedback, find solutions, and drive results. COVID in the Greater NYC area required an “all hands-on-deck approach” to driving results. Adam has been quick to identify subject matter experts and/or uniquely talented internal colleagues to support and deploy solutions. Additionally, Adam challenges ideas to ensure they are the right solution, often doing so by walking through the process to understand the lift versus gain.


Catherine Matthews, Co-CEO Lansing Urgent Care

How have you seen the industry evolve over the last decade, and how did you contribute to that evolution?

When we started over 15 years ago, the urgent care industry in our market was saturated with outdated clinics providing sub-par care with extended wait times.  Our goal was to provide premium urgent care services to the community in a high-end, clean, and efficient environment staffed with top healthcare professionals.  Patients were desperate for a better solution, and it drove our competition to either close and retire or re-work their urgent care services strategy to compete with us.  It drove us and our competition to be better.  Now there are patient experience standards in place across our community that patients have come to expect from their urgent care.  It is no longer appropriate to ask patients to wait in excess of an hour for care and treatment.  Visit times are reduced to an average of under an hour.  Patients can check in from the convenience of home, work, or vehicle.  Patients received medications from us on-site to alleviate the time and stress of making an extra trip to the pharmacy.  Telemedicine has become a standard.  These are advancements patients have come to expect that we’ve contributed to and feel responsible for providing to the community — all elements of the urgent care experience that were non-existent over 10 years ago.

What do you hope to see happen in your urgent care in the next year?

The one hope I have for this year is a return of appreciation from patients to our staff.  The pandemic has been hard on everyone, especially those healthcare workers who never skipped a beat and showed up to work when nobody else would or could.  Overall, patients are grateful and kind, but there is still a sizable portion of people who treat our staff with disrespect, impatience, and disdain for the healthcare community.  I look forward to a year when volumes are slightly less intense and people take time to appreciate all the incredible achievements that have been made for humankind in a difficult pandemic — and that they find some understanding of what my staff have sacrificed for the community to have greater access to care and prevention services that may not have otherwise been available to them without us.


Ovation Award for Staff Excellence

Sam Eskildsen accepting a Limelight Urgent Care award

Winner! Sam Eskildsen, CEO at MainStreet Family Care

Sam was nominated by an employee who has this to say: “Throughout 2020 and 2021, every action Sam has led is with patients in mind: PCR testing, rapid testing, web registration, vaccines, infusions, even more web registration optimization. We are constantly focusing on the services the community needs but also problem-solving the best way to deliver those services to the patient. We worked late nights and weekends to offer these services ASAP to the community. If a change was announced Friday afternoon, we had adjusted by Saturday morning. One of our core values is ‘We are Family.’ That includes treating not only coworkers like family, but also our patients. When you talk to Sam about designing new service operations, everything is framed by trying to make it the best possible experience for the patient.”

Here is how Sam responded to some of our questions.

Explain the biggest challenges you had last year and how you solved them (including how you came up with the solutions — e.g., collaboration, research, vendors, other partnerships, etc.)

Staffing and compensation.  Not only are there shortages across the board, pay rates are escalating.  Most urgent cares do not have a revenue relationship with the customer; they have it with the insurance companies. This creates significant barriers to increasing prices to keep up with market conditions.  We have attempted to hold base pay rates steady and increase or add incentive programs.   Hopefully this will allow us to more easily reset to traditional compensation levels if that opportunity presents itself.

How has your involvement with the community contributed to your success?

All of our rural clinics are deeply embedded in the community.   Several years ago, we added primary care to our offering after being inundated with requests.   The typical scenario was that when we first opened in a town, they have just enough primary care providers.  Inevitably, a few pass away or retire and there is no one to take their place — and we would start receiving calls form the mayors, the hospitals, or from the retiring doctors themselves.  We invested significant resources into developing a primary care approach that worked in an urgent care setting.


Leighanne Shirey Advanced Nurse Practitioner at Dayton Urgent Care

How have you seen the industry evolve over the last decade, and how did you contribute to that evolution?

Urgent Care is continually evolving. The goal has been and is to keep patients out of the ER with expanded services that include things like lab availability, IV infusion services, and increased point of care testing with additional diagnostics. It has also expanded services to include DOT physicals, employment physicals, and hybrid occupational medicine. More patients do not have Primary Care Providers (PCPs) and want on-demand care. We’ve seen new variations of patient types that are not only episodic, but chronic, or there for health maintenance. During my time with my organization, I completed a project on blood pressure management and treatment in the urgent care setting, as well as initiated policies for access to (primary) care and medication refills for chronic disease management for patients without a PCP.

How has your involvement with the community contributed to your success?

The rural community in which I work has issues with access to primary care. Prior to my involvement with this urgent care, the community perspective was not favorable, as everyone was sent to the ER for many conditions that could have been treated in the urgent care setting. I have encouraged people and patients in the community to come to see me at the urgent care for assistance with their initial concerns, medication refills, and navigating into primary care. Patients continue to return to the urgent care, and as a whole, the community feels cared for. They continue to return and tell friends about the care here. The numbers have increased beyond expectations to the point of potentially requiring a second provider during the week.


Amy McIntosh Vice President Operations at RedMed Urgent Care

Explain the biggest challenges you had last year and how you solved them (including how you came up with the solutions — e.g., collaboration, research, vendors, other partnerships, etc.)

At RedMed, our people are the reason for our success and the foundation of our culture. It all revolves around kind, respectful, well-trained, well-equipped individuals who genuinely care and want to serve.  We have not been immune to the great resignation, and we have struggled with team member burn-out and turnover. To solve this, we held true to our culture and now we have successfully recruited and retained new team members. Having new energetic staff melding in with the seasoned staff has been encouraging for us all.

Significant fluctuations in patient volume are also a big challenge, but process problems are not that difficult to solve if you have good people.

What do you hope to see happen in your urgent care in the next year?

I want to see all healthcare workers feel appreciated and noticed. I want their spirit for serving rejuvenated. I want them to embrace the uncertainty and be confident in their ability and strength to handle whatever pops up next.

Urgent care is on the map, and I want the reputation to be stellar….only strong, caring people can accomplish that.


Showstopper Award for Industry Impact

Todd Martin, winner of Experity Limelight award shaking hands with executives

Winner! Todd Martin Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer at Emergency One Urgent Care

Todd was nominated by an employee, who stated, “Todd has developed Emergency One into one of the most trusted and respected healthcare organizations in the Hudson Valley for nearly 25 years. His dedication to remaining open throughout and providing services that other healthcare organizations removed or limited, displays his desire to make Emergency One the best patient experience available in the region.  His pride in what we do on a daily basis, from our front desk staff to our providers, shows that Todd truly believes that the quality of caring for our patients, clients, employees, community and all that we serve and who serves us, is just as important as the quality of care.”

Here is some of the feedback Todd provided us.

Explain the biggest challenges you had last year and how you solved them (including how you came up with the solutions — e.g., collaboration, research, vendors, other partnerships, etc.)

Emergency One went through many challenges during the pandemic. Our offices saw significant surges in patient volumes, new governmental and insurance compliance requirements, new testing technologies, as well as challenges in managing our supply chain. Our response included the implementation of new technology to enhance access and improve the delivery of care. These included telemedicine and eRegistration to decompress our waiting rooms and provide safe and secure access to our services. We added queuing systems to stabilize and manage patient flow. We implemented a patient portal so our patients could receive real-time results without inundating staff and our offices with phone calls. Each of these programs were designed to allow our staff to accommodate higher volumes by leveraging technology to reduce the burden on staff as they move our patients through urgent care process. As we implemented each item, we repeatedly questioned, “How does this look and feel for the patient?”  Some things worked, some didn’t, and we didn’t hesitate to try different approaches. When something became burdensome for the patient, we would look for ways to change that process because in the end, the goal was to create the best patient experience.

What do you hope to see happen in your urgent care in the next year?

We hope to see a decline in COVID infection rates in our area, and a normalization of patient volume variability. We hope to see increased access to qualified professionals in key positions where we have local shortages including physicians, x-ray techs, and nursing staff. We plan to focus on connecting with and marketing to the new patients that found our urgent care center during the pandemic, so that we can educate them on the scope and quality of services available and encourage them to return when they or their families need immediate care.


Erfan Karim, Executive Director of ExpressCare of NYC Health + Hospitals

How have you seen the industry evolve over the last decade, and how did you contribute to that evolution?

At NYC Health + Hospitals, the country’s largest public health system, I was able to introduce an equitable model that broadened access to urgent care to all New Yorkers without gatekeeping for ability to pay. This new model with multiple in-person urgent care centers helped uninsured, uninsurable, and fee-scaled patients to finally have access to care options beyond traditional emergency room care. Most recently, I led our team to further evolve our model to include a virtual urgent care experience. Virtual ExpressCare has allowed us to better meet the needs of our patients where they are while reducing the impact of structural barriers they have in getting care. The recent impact of vExpressCare include 40,000+ patients served with 94% patient satisfaction scores, 2000+ EMS ambulance trips avoided and 6,000+ virtual Monoclonal Antibody assessments completed.

Explain the biggest challenges you had last year and how you solved them (including how you came up with the solutions — e.g., collaboration, research, vendors, other partnerships, etc.)

To respond to COVID surges, NYC Health + Hospitals launched a 911 call diversion intervention with the New York City Fire Department Bureau of Emergency Medical Services. The new service offered lower-acuity 911 calls a telehealth option, where clinically appropriate, to avoid potential delays of New Yorkers receiving lifesaving care from both ambulances and crowded emergency departments. In order to provide this service, I led the launch of our telehealth platform with vendor partnerships to deliver flexible support for audio and video modalities, including imbedded access to comprehensive interpreting services in over 200+ languages.

Our services were also able to meet the New York City community needs by broadening access to potentially lifesaving Monoclonal Antibody (mAb) treatment for high-risk, symptomatic patients with COVID-19. We wanted to reduce traditional barriers to access to care faced by vulnerable populations, while solving for the multiple logistical challenges deploying this mAb initiative.

Thank you for all that you do

As you can see, urgent cares are continuously finding new ways to not only serve their communities, but also establish a strong business to help their communities long-term. We also loved to see how many submissions focused on staff support and appreciation. We could not fit all the amazing things shared in one blog, and to know there is so much more we could have included truly has us in awe of you. To stay in the loop for next year’s nominations, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.

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