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Retail, Urgent Care, Micro Hospitals and Beyond: The Evolution, Promise, and Unknowns of Alternative Care Settings


Alternative care access points – retail clinics, urgent care centers, freestanding emergency departments, and micro-hospitals – have proliferated. In many cases these programs are thriving in a consumer-focused, value-based healthcare environment.

Hospitals and health systems are recognizing the potential value of developing and integrating these alternative care sites. In addition to supporting population health management, these access points can be profitable, and can provide a relatively low-cost approach to new patient acquisition and the potential for downstream revenue.

Will one or more of these settings benefit your organization? The answer requires a nuanced understanding of the niche the alternative setting fills, the likely rate of acceptance and adoption, and the business case for the alternative(s) being considered. This presentation will explore the emerging spectrum of alternative care settings and provide a framework for evaluating how development and integration of one or more of them might benefit your organization.

Learning objectives:

Participants will learn:

  • Differentiate among these alternative care settings, including patient populations and care needs best served, limitations and potential risks, regulatory and payment considerations, and other factors
  • Describe the business case for integration of these alternative care settings, including typical financial results and organization-level financial implications, such as potential role in new patient acquisition
  • Communicate the likely value of these alternative settings, including citing organizations that have successfully integrated these new care settings
  • Begin evaluating the potential fit of alternative settings into their organization’s overall ambulatory care strategy