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Over the last few months, Experity leadership has been actively working with Sirona Strategies to increase the visibility of urgent care clinics as a vital and ready part of the COVID-19 response in the U.S. During recent meetings with key officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Heath and Human Services (HHS) and the incoming Biden Administration, Experity and other industry leaders made the case for urgent care to be included in the administration of vaccinations across the country.
We’re ecstatic to report that the “National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness Report” just released by the White House lists urgent care as one of the recommended distribution venues for COVID-19 vaccinations. The report also reinforces the need to fairly compensate providers for the cost of administering vaccinations. According to the report, the Department of Health and Human Services will ask the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to consider whether current payment rates for vaccine administration are appropriate or whether a higher rate may more accurately compensate providers.
Since the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in the United States, the urgent care industry faced the challenge of finding its place in the large-scale pandemic response effort. While hospitals were overrun with patients seeking tests—and now vaccines, urgent care clinics have been largely overlooked, despite their focus on quick and efficient patient throughput and being widely dispersed in communities across the country. Urgent care was able to capitalize on their ability to be nimble and agile, now contributing to roughly 25% of weekly national testing volume.
Because many impoverished and rural communities do not have equal access to large health systems, hospitals, and retail pharmacies/stores, the inclusion of urgent care clinics to the strategy is essential to providing equal access to COVID vaccinations for all Americans. Of the 10,000 urgent care centers across the country, more than 70 percent serve impoverished and rural communities.
To empower urgent care providers to participate in the administration of COVID vaccines, Experity has consolidated state-by-state enrollment information with links to enroll. Many states have already begun to enroll providers. You must be approved to participate in your state plan. We strongly recommend that you take this report and reach out to your state COVID-19 team and ask for inclusion in vaccine administration. Leverage your role in supporting underserved communities within your state. Subscribe here to get access to regular updates and stay in the know as more information is released.
Experity, together with a coalition of urgent care leaders, will continue to be a national voice for the industry and become more involved with state vaccination administration as we respond to this pandemic. We are committed to elevating urgent care as it becomes an increasingly important segment of the evolving healthcare marketplace.