Urgent Care Centers and the Demand for Non-Emergent Emergency Department Visits

28 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2019

See all articles by Lindsay Allen

Lindsay Allen

West Virginia University - School of Public Health

Janet Cummings

Emory University

Jason Hockenberry

Emory University

Date Written: January 2019

Abstract

Urgent care centers (UCCs) are a cost-efficient substitute to the emergency department (ED) for non-emergent conditions, but no study has identified their impact on ED demand. We address this gap using a novel strategy that exploits daily UCC operating times in a differencing framework. After UCCs close each day, local non-emergent ED visits increase by 1.43 percent (over the adjusted mean rate of 70.58 percent) in areas with multiple UCCs. This effect occurs only among the privately insured population, the target customers of UCCs. Our results suggest that UCCs are successfully substituting for EDs in the treatment of non-emergent conditions.

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Suggested Citation

Allen, Lindsay and Cummings, Janet and Hockenberry, Jason, Urgent Care Centers and the Demand for Non-Emergent Emergency Department Visits (January 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w25428. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3315228

Lindsay Allen (Contact Author)

West Virginia University - School of Public Health ( email )

PO Box 9190
Morgantown, WV 26506-9190
United States

Janet Cummings

Emory University ( email )

201 Dowman Drive
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

Jason Hockenberry

Emory University ( email )

201 Dowman Drive
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

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