Healthcare economics

  1. Health Capital Topics Volume 11 Issue 5 May 2018- READ
    Previous issues of Health Capital Topics have discussed several strategies by which healthcare providers and stakeholders have attempted to remain financially viable while combating the rising costs of healthcare, e.g., vertical integration and horizontal consolidation,1 and the market entry of nontraditional providers such as Amazon and Walmart.2 Another, converse strategy – which involves the use of an increasing number of retail clinics and urgent
    care centers in an effort to provide better point-of-care access to consumers – can help avoid costly and unnecessary visits to a hospital emergency room for conditions such as upper respiratory conditions; ear infections; and, other non-acute conditions.3 Over the last few years, a new type of healthcare provider has entered the market to bridge the gap between these urgent care centers and full service hospitals: the micro-hospital.4 Despite the
    consolidation trends in the healthcare industry, micro-hospitals have emerged as a popular option for both patients (as they are typically conveniently located, and offer a shorter wait time than traditional hospitals), and providers (due to their relatively small overhead and the ability to bill at hospital rates, in contrast to the lower rates billed by urgent care centers).5
    The term “micro-hospital” is still so new that it cannot be found in the dictionary or in any formal healthcare regulations. As such, the most commonly accepted definition for these entities has been broadly detailed by Emerus, creator of the first micro-hospital prototype, and current operator of more than 28 of these facilities across the U.S.6 The Emerus micro-hospital prototype has the following characteristics:
    It is licensed as an independent hospital;
    Its size is 30,000 to 60,000 square feet;
    It contains 8 emergency beds and staffs board-certified emergency physicians;
    It contains 8 to 10 inpatient beds;
    It is staffed and open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week;
    It maintains transfer agreements with partner hospitals; and
    It provides a core set of ancillary services (which can vary by location), e.g., imaging, surgery centers.7

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