EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

April 14, 2013

Urgent care facilities crop up all over region

Urgent care facilities see regional growth boom

(Continued)

There are about two dozen licensed urgent, immediate care or walk-in centers in New Hampshire.

Paula Minnehan, the New Hampshire Hospital Association’s vice president for finance, said there was much talk in recent years about pending development of urgent care centers around the Interstate 93 corridor.

“That is where the population is and it is convenient,” Minnehan said.

“Population density and market need are keys to all this,” said Frank McDougall, vice president of government relations for Dartmouth-Hitchcock health care system.

Puyanic sees urgent care as a necessary option for consumers.

“It is where you are going to get the highest quality care, in a friendly environment at an affordable cost,” Puyanic said.

ConvenientMD is planning a new urgent care center in Concord in what the company hopes will become a group of outlets in the state.

“We anticipate there will be a rush for urgent care and walk-in centers to open over the coming years, creating an oversupply,” Puyanic said. “ Ultimately, we expect that only the facilities that provide the highest quality of care, at the most affordable rate will survive.”

Parkland’s Scionti expects to see more.

“I believe we will because there is a demand for it by patients,” he said.

CEO Douglas Dean said Elliot Health System expected to see 6,000 to 8,000 patients annually in Londonderry. Today, about 20,000 people use the center every year.

“I would not have predicted the volume we are experiencing,” Dean said.

There is agreement that the growth in urgent care is driven by costs, crowded emergency rooms, a shortage of doctors and an aging population.

The various urgent care centers operate under different labels, but have some things in common.

They treat smaller healthcare issues — colds, earaches, cuts — not big ones like a heart attack or stroke.

“There is no ambulance drop-off,” Minnehan said.

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