DELTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Lansing Urgent Care opened a new location in Grand Ledge this month. It's one of thousands of urgent care clinics that have opened their doors around the country over the past five years. The pandemic slowed things down at first, but now it's made them more popular than ever.
Urgent care clinics have grown about 10 percent every year over the past decade, according Lou Ellen Horwitz,CEO of the Urgent Care Association.
There were more than 9,600 around the country as of 2019, according to a recent industry report, up from about 6,400 five years earlier.
"I think that they've grown so much and continue to do so because really we were the first really pioneers in thinking about patients as customers. And it turns out patients really like that. You know, while our first priority is obviously quality and safety, we're just as obsessive as patient experience," Horwitz said.
Lansing Urgent Care opened a new location in Grand Ledge on Feb. 15. Serious discussions about the new location started in 2018.
"We've always been very focused on access to care, and with the growing need for our services primarily due to some of the challenges with primary care, ER overflow, etc., it's really important for us to be available to the community the best way that we can. And many times, it's through a physical location," said Hillary Myers, the executive director of operations for Lansing Urgent Care.
More people than ever before have been visiting urgent care clinics for the first time, according to Horwitz, because they're seeking COVID-19 tests and now starting to seek vaccines.
"Testing has definitely become a popular service at Lansing Urgent Care for our patients, and, you know, oftentimes they're getting tested in addition to whatever else they're being seen for," Myers said.
When the pandemic started, regular urgent care visits in the U.S."fell away just like they did for the rest of the health care system," Horwitz said. "It's been fascinating to watch. I don't know if people are using telemedicine more. I think that's very, very likely. But we saw our normal urgent care visits fall off. Now that's changed in the past couple of months as people are getting more comfortable, I think, going out."
Lansing Urgent Care now has eight locations.
"We have great access to our facilities," Myers said, "and kind of all the corners of greater Lansing."
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