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Some consultants have been informing urgent care administrators that since they are a hospital-owned urgent care center, they are now classified a type B emergency department. Simply being a hospital-owned facility, however, does not necessarily mean that your urgent care center meets the specific criteria outlined by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for type B emergency departments.
To qualify as a type B emergency department, the urgent care center must meet at least one of the following criteria:
Thus, after applying the specific criteria for a type B emergency department, very few urgent care centers are appropriately classified as type B emergency departments.
Some confusion may arise from application of the third criterion. There are three parts to this criterion, however, and in order to qualify as a type B emergency department your urgent care center must meet the definition in all three parts (not just one or two parts). Are over 1/3 of the visits to your urgent care center:
Urgent care centers will generally answer “yes” to the first two components (1) “urgent basis?” and 2) “without appointment?”. But almost all true urgent care centers will answer the last question with a definitive “no,” Hence, these urgent care clinics do not qualify as type B emergency departments.
The criteria for qualifying as a type B emergency department are essentially identical to the criteria that determine whether or not a facility is covered under EMTALA. Thus, if an urgent care center does not qualify as a type B emergency department, then that urgent care center will not be required to follow the EMTALA guidelines.
Note: This information is for coding educational purposes only and should not be used as a clinical guide or as a guide for any specific coding scenario. The user of this information specifically releases Practice Velocity, LLC from any liability or potential liability that might arise as a direct or indirect consequence from reading the information contained on this website.