After a long day of meetings in New York’s Upper West Side, I took a walk at the end of the day. Ironically, after a long day of healthcare strategy discussions, what I noticed on that walk was striking evidence of the new direction in primary care. Storefronts that had housed yogurt shops, clothing boutiques and branch offices of banks now were occupied by walk-in urgent care facilities. In fact, I saw competing clinics on opposite street corners, reminiscent of the gas station wars of decades ago.
Most of us understand what’s behind this explosion of readily available healthcare. The Affordable Care Act has brought millions of new patients into the system, and Medicare usage is growing dramatically, thanks to Baby Boomers.. As a result, primary care availability is inadequate. And waiting times at emergency departments have lengthened to the point that most patients can no longer tolerate the wait for care.
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