Steve Walsh raises concerns about urgent care clinics

The president and CEO of the Massachusetts Health & Hospitals Association downplayed the recent outpatient expansion proposal of Partners HealthCare and said the real concern is the rapid growth of urgent care facilities across the state.

On a Health or Consequences episode of the CommonWealth Codcast, Steve Walsh said the Partners outpatient expansion will receive a rigorous regulatory review. But he said a bigger concern is the growth of unaffiliated urgent care providers like the CVS Minute Clinics.

“There has long been a question as to are the unaffiliated urgent care ambulatory surgery centers helping to fund CHIA, the Center for Health Information and Analysis; the Health Policy Commission; and community benefits? Do they accept Medicaid? Are they treating our poorest and most vulnerable residents? Are they doing the same kind of programs for the opioid epidemic as our traditional hospitals are? So the real problem isn’t necessarily the expansion by one member into other communities. It’s all of the other expansion that’s happened over the last decade and what that has done to not create a level playing field for our members and for the community residents they serve.”