Urgent Care storefront

Huntsville Hospital Systems was one of five hospitals in the country that were recently highlighted by Becker’s Hospital Review as outstanding examples of the growing trend to invest in primary care and express care networks.

“Health systems across the U.S. are looking for ways to improve the overall health of the communities they serve while cutting costs,” the online healthcare portal reported. “One emerging trend to reconcile these seemingly competing goals is investing in primary care and express care sites.”

Significantly representative of this trend, said Becker’s, was Huntsville Hospital’s December announcement of a joint venture with Urgent Team Family of Urgent Care & Walk-In Centers that creates a branded network of walk-in urgent and family care centers throughout North Alabama.

Urgent Team Walk-In Urgent Care locations in Huntsville, Madison, Decatur, Florence and Muscle Shoals have been rebranded as Huntsville Hospital Urgent Care centers. All of the centers are open seven days a week and provide treatment for injuries, illnesses and conditions that are urgent, but non-life threatening.

“Our strong reputation for clinical care and service combined with Urgent Team’s proficiency in offering a quality, patient experience in a retail setting further positions our health system to become the leading on-demand network in North Alabama,” said Huntsville Hospital Health System Chief Operating Officer Jeff Samz.

Investments such as this, noted Becker’s, “could be the key to lowering costs, improving patient satisfaction and reducing hospitalizations or unnecessary emergency department visits, according to an op-ed published in the New England Journal of Medicine.”

The four other examples cited by Becker’s were: a statewide network in Delaware, a Cincinnati hospital that bought seven Walgreens clinic, 15 hospitals that have networked with pharmacies in North Carolina, and a joint venture by an Atlanta hospital and a nine-clinic urgent care group.

Originally published on Business Alabama.

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