GoHealth Urgent Care News

Creating Competition Through M&A In The Healthcare Field

Source: The Ambulatory M&A Advisor

By Richard Romero

December 2, 2016

 

Linda Fleming, partner with the law firm Carlton Fields confirms that in fact, the healthcare market is very competitive.  According to Fle...

Creating Competition Through M&A In The Healthcare Field

Source: The Ambulatory M&A Advisor

By Richard Romero

December 2, 2016

 

Linda Fleming, partner with the law firm Carlton Fields confirms that in fact, the healthcare market is very competitive.  According to Fleming, as more players enter the market, providers need to distinguish themselves to retain current patients and acquire new ones.  She explains this is also important when contracting with managed care companies.  Providers in the field need a critical mass to get their attention.

“Establishing sustainable competitive advantage and differentiation for your business is at least as important in healthcare as it would be in any other industry.  This is due in part to the fact that most healthcare service lines have multiple scaled competitors in each market and patients are presented with a greater number of options and alternatives.  Ensuring that your patients recognize and value your distinct competitive advantage is becoming more critical as patients transform themselves into educated healthcare consumers with much higher expectations for service and transparency. Creating competitive advantage can both support your growth and enable you to make longer term investments with confidence,” Todd Latz, CEO of GoHealth Urgent Care says.

Fleming adds that she believes that having a competitive advantage in the industry is not only beneficial for the physician owners, but for the patients visiting centers as well.

“If the advantage is having multiple locations, then these companies offer increased convenience to their patients.  The competitive advantage might be enhanced Electronic Health Records and participation is an health exchange, thereby allowing all of the patient’s providers to access the patient’s up-to-date medical history.  Or it could be offering a full line of services, so it makes it easy for your patients to fulfill all of their health care needs with your company and its affiliates,” Fleming says.

“At some point, size could be a disadvantage, such as when antitrust prohibitions come into play.  But size does matter, and for the most part, the more dominant you are, the better opportunities you have.”

Latz does not believe there is a dominant player in urgent care today.  However, when discussing the topic of  it being possible to be “too large” in a market, he says that is theoretically possible.

“It really depends on your operating model, competitive advantage and whether the additional locations are accretive and sustainable,” Latz says.

On the topic of patients benefiting from competition, Latz says there is no question that patients can and should benefit from this competitive advantage.

“Whether it is a unique partnership model that provides greater access to the entire healthcare continuum and a higher level of clinical quality, technical innovation that redefines convenience and access, or a patient-first focus that delivers a seamless and restorative experience – competitive advantage and differentiation must present clear value to patients and deliver on (or exceed) their expectations,” Latz says.

Latz adds that there are a number of reasons to consider an acquisition of an existing center, including:

  • Faster new market entry
  • Accelerating growth by expanding your existing network or increasing market share
  • Adding clinical or operational talent
  • Obtaining more mature operating assets and established volume
  • Tapping into new partnership and collaborative opportunities

When approaching a transaction opportunity, Fleming says the strategic plans that a company may have for the deal is critical to offer multiple entry points.

“By adding new locations, the company is likely to expand its patient base, which in turn gives it more leverage when negotiating managed care contracts.  It may also provide the opportunity to expand service lines or enhance the existing company’s reputation,” Fleming says.

On the strategic point, Latz says would-be buyers may be looking to enter a new market, increase their presence and scale in an existing market, add a new service line or simply, take advantage of synergies or enhance their presence and relevance to payors.  An acquiror’s strategic plans would be dictated by what they are looking to achieve through the transaction.

When asked on when a good time to expand is in the market, Latz shares his thoughts.

“I believe you simply have to be opportunistic, as perfectly timing your growth can be tricky.  De novo growth is certainly easier to manage from a timing perspective, but growth through acquisition is much harder to manage, since the market may present a unique opportunity at a different time than you might have hoped for or projected.  You should also consider the cultural implications and amount of work it may take to transform or align an acquired business with your own unique model,” Latz says.

Fleming says that in her belief, growth for growth’s sake is rarely advisable.  Rather it should be part of a comprehensive strategic plan and should be done when the Company has the necessary resources to do so.

“This would include management and financial resources.  However, sometimes opportunities present themselves.  If the opportunity fits into your strategic plan, you might need to react immediately, even if you planned to do it a year or two later,” Fleming says.

Another way that M&A can create competition directly through the sales process is through an auction.

Lisa Taylor, partner with Webster, Wyciskala, and Taylor says that she is certainly seeing an increased trend in auctions throughout the healthcare industry that are increasing competition via M&A.

“If you would have asked me about an auction a year ago, I would have thought of an auction in a completely different context, like selling art work.  What I am really seeing is that they are increasingly being used where a substantial portion of the value of the selling organization is franchised to provide services; particularly in areas where for regulatory reasons, you can’t get into the market anymore,” Taylor says.

“That’s really the big thing.  CMS has put into place a number of moritoriums for a number of services like durable medical equipment, home health, and other services in various places across the country.  There are increasingly tight barriers to entry for services and to facilities that may not previously have had barriers to entry.

The only access to the market is by acquiring an existing organization, or in some cases, approval for an organization that has not been developed yet.  That license is what is really most valuable.  The selling organization wants to maximize the value for the current owners so an auction makes a lot of sense in terms of trying to maximize that value.  In some cases it is a good way to be able to entertain perspective bidders and to try and get offers, competition, and get purchasers to try to turn around a deal pretty quickly.”

Customer Loyalty Is Spelled N-P-S

Source: Entrepreneur Online

By Todd Latz

July 8, 2016

Superior customer loyalty is critically important for any successful business. However, many leaders struggle with how to effectively measure it. How loyal are your custom...

Customer Loyalty Is Spelled N-P-S

Source: Entrepreneur Online

By Todd Latz

July 8, 2016

Superior customer loyalty is critically important for any successful business. However, many leaders struggle with how to effectively measure it. How loyal are your customers? What are they saying about your products or services to others? Do they promote you to others and provide an incredibly valuable word-of-mouth endorsement? To answer these questions, we look to Net Promoter Scores (NPS). NPS is a relatively simple measurement tool that helps businesses gauge how likely their customers are to refer family members and friends to their products or services. NPS is also a leading indicator, and when used optimally, it can be a predictor of future customer engagement and growth. Since NPS allows for real-time measurement of customer satisfaction, it allows management to take immediate action to improve operations based on customer feedback.

Related: Analyzing the Science Behind Customer Loyalty

How NPS works.

After purchasing your product or service, your customers are asked one question: “how likely are you to recommend our company/product/service to a friend or family member?” The customer responds on a scale from 0-10. Scores of 9 or 10 are considered “Promoters” -- satisfied customers who are more likely to continue buying your products or services and to recommend you to their friends and family. Scores of 0-6 are considered “Detractors” -- unsatisfied customers who are more likely to complain about a negative experience or speak poorly of your brand. Scores of 7 or 8 are considered “Passives” -- satisfied customers who are not enthusiastic enough to actively promote, and may try a competing offering next time. To calculate a NPS rating, you subtract the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters. Passives are part of the denominator and thus do not help your score.

A NPS of 50+ is excellent, and leading consumer brands, such as Costco, USAA insurance and Nordstrom routinely score in the high 70s and enjoy fierce customer loyalty. Healthcare companies typically have been slower to adopt NPS as a measure of patient loyalty, and when they have, their NPS ratings have often been poor. National NPS averages for the healthcare industry are as low as just 17 and are often the result of access issues, long wait times, and a focus on their own, rather than their customer’s convenience. However, there are exceptions, especially where there is an intense focus on customer experience. At GoHealth Urgent Care, by making our patients and the quality of their care our highest priority, we have routinely achieved NPS ratings of 90. 

Related: 25 Tips for Earning Customer Loyalty

What to know before implementing NPS.

Most companies want to understand their customers better, but many are reluctant to open the door to negative feedback. You need to embrace the feedback -- if your customers have a bad experience, they are going to tell others about it, and it is imperative for you to hear this feedback so that you can set the course for positive change.

How to implement NPS.

You can implement NPS through phone, email or internet. Our GoHealth Urgent Care patients receive an NPS query via text message shortly after visiting a center. Our patients can then respond and have the option to leave a comment for their clinician. This simplicity ensures a higher response rate and supports an effortless patient experience.

How to boost NPS ratings.

Excellent customer service begins with your team. When your team is passionate, energetic and focused on a singular purpose or customer promise (for GoHealth Urgent Care it’s “we put you first”), that positivity permeates your customers.

Look for ways to make customers’ experiences more personal. We have found that introducing yourself every time better connects patients to their clinical team, makes them more likely to express any concerns during their visit (instead of after they leave on social media) and results in high NPS ratings. The lasting impression made during a customer’s final few minutes at your store/center is incredibly important.

Related: 3 Ways to Increase Customer Loyalty

A leading indicator for future success.

Utilizing NPS to measure your effectiveness from your customer’s perspective can be invaluable. NPS ratings can be broken down by department, product, store or even individual team member to gauge what is working, and what needs improvement. NPS also helps set clear goals for improving the customer experience. Our industry-leading NPS ratings have given us concrete, real-time, actionable data to measure and confirm that we are delivering on the promises we make every day to our patients. Positive NPS ratings indicate satisfied, loyal customers who are much more likely to tell their friends, neighbors and family about their exemplary experiences -- the best possible endorsement for any brand. 

8 Signs You Might Not Be Spending Enough Time Outside

Source: Bustle

By Carina Wolff

July 19, 2016

Most of us spend the majority of our days cooped up at our desks, and we don't get to spend much time outside. However, spending time in nature can have profound health effects, an...

8 Signs You Might Not Be Spending Enough Time Outside

Source: Bustle

By Carina Wolff

July 19, 2016

Most of us spend the majority of our days cooped up at our desks, and we don't get to spend much time outside. However, spending time in nature can have profound health effects, and if you're inside too often, you may be exhibiting some signs that you aren't spending enough time outside. Not only does spending time outdoors usually include a little bit of exercise, but it can help calm our minds and even improve our physical health.

"Spending time outside is important as it produces natural Vitamin D and mood-enhancing hormones," says Dr. Nikki Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC over email. "Spending time outside gets us active, involved, one with our surroundings, and with others, compared to staying holed up in the house."

Getting outside doesn't always have to mean spending a whole day at the beach, as even just 15 to 20 minutes outside can have invigorating effects on the mind and body. And if you are outside, you want to make sure you're taking the proper care to protect your skin from the sun.

That being said, it's definitely not healthy to keep yourself holed up all day in fear of seeing the light. If you suspect you are staying indoors too often, consider these eight signs that you need to get outside more.

1. Your Vitamin D Is Low

If you get blood work done and your vitamin D levels are low, it's time to get outside. "Vitamin D is manufactured in your skin when exposed to sunlight," says Dr. Debra Brooks, Physician at Northwell Health—GoHealth Urgent Care. "You do not need to bake in the sun and risk cancer, but 15 minutes a day outside is a healthy way to keep your levels up, and you can't develop toxicity this way like you can from ingesting too much."

2. You're Pale Compared To Those Around You

No one's saying you need to have a tan (hello, sun protection!), but if you are particularly pasty compared to your peers, you may want to spend just 10 minutes or so outside — with sunscreen, of course. "Some amount of sun exposure can be healthy, including increased levels of vitamin D," says Dr. Larry Burchett over email.

3. You're Spending Too Much Time In Bed

We all need a TV binge-watching day here and there, but if this is becoming a regular habit, it's time to consider heading out the door. "If you would rather watch a Netflix marathon than enjoy a night out with friends, you may want to check your priorities and your healthy choices," says Martinez. "Think about what is best for you and your well being."

4. You're Anxious

If you're feeling stressed or anxious, you may want to spend a little more time in nature. "We know that sunlight has a positive effect on the serotonin neurotransmitters that restore healthy moods," says psychologist Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D. over email.

5. You Feel Socially Isolated

It's easy to feel alone when you aren't getting any social interaction besides your roommates. "Being outside puts you in touch with your neighbors, dog walkers, trees, and grass," says Brooks. "We spend so much time planning ahead or looking at our pasts, both of which can produce significant anxiety. Being outside facilitates our ability to be in the present moment."

6. You Have Joint Pain

"If you are noticing more pains in general, and you have been less active, you may be able to feel better by exercising and releasing some endorphins into your bloodstream," says Burchett. Adequate vitamin D is also needed for bone health, so a lack in the nutrient can cause achiness and stiffness.

7. You Have Stomach Issues

That stomach ache may come from being too sedentary. "Gastric troubles like constipation, bloating, cramping etc. are all eased by walking in natural surroundings," says Raymond. "Nature takes your eye off the discomfort, and by synchronizing your bowel movements to that in nature, you will feel lighter, and restored to better gastric functioning."

8. You're Fatigued

"Pay attention to energy levels, both at the end of the day, and day to day," says Burchett. A series of studies from the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that being outside in nature makes people feel more alive and energetic.

Just like with other aspects of our health, there should be a healthy balance of spending time inside and outside.

Zika Virus: What Families Need to Know

Source: Six Degrees of Mom

By Dr. Neal Shipley

June 16, 2016

 Expert Advice from Dr. Neal Shipley, Regional Medical Director, Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care

What we know about ZikaThe most common way ...

Zika Virus: What Families Need to Know

Source: Six Degrees of Mom

By Dr. Neal Shipley

June 16, 2016

 
Expert Advice from Dr. Neal Shipley, Regional Medical Director, Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care

What we know about Zika
The most common way for people to contract Zika is through bug bites from infected mosquitos. Partners can also give one another Zika if intimately involved, so be sure to get a screening if a spouse or partner has recently traveled to a high-risk area. To date, there are no reports of infants contracting the Zika virus through breastfeeding. Because of the benefits of breastfeeding, mothers are encouraged to breastfeed even in areas where Zika virus is found.Most people who contract Zika virus do not show any out-of-the-ordinary symptoms and are unaware that they have been infected. Zika usually remains in the blood of an infected person for about a week to 10 days. Once a person has been infected, he or she is unlikely to get Zika again.

What we don’t yet know about Zika
There is no vaccine or medicine to effectively eliminate Zika and the medical community still has a lot of learning to do about the virus. Unfortunately, there are still many uncertainties in terms of exactly how and when the virus passes from mother to baby, its impact on the developing infant in the womb and long-term health outcomes for those who have been infected. We do not yet have statistics on how common it is for a pregnant woman who has contracted Zika to pass Zika on to her unborn baby or how common it is for a new mother to pass the virus on to her newborn baby at the time of delivery. We’re also not yet sure whether the severity of a woman’s symptoms will affect her pregnancy. Last, we’re still not sure what the long-term health outcomes are for infants and children who have contracted Zika.

What are the symptoms of Zika?
Most people who are infected with Zika do not even know they have the virus because they don’t have any symptoms or the symptoms are very mild. In other words, people usually don’t feel sick enough to go to the hospital when they first contract the virus. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes (conjunctivitis). Other common symptoms include headache and muscle pains. These symptoms usually go away within a few days to one week.

The exact incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika is not known, but we estimate that this is likely to be a few days to a week. See your doctor or other healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant and develop a fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes within two weeks of traveling to a place where Zika has been reported.

What if I am pregnant or might get pregnant?
Zika can be passed from a woman to her unborn child during pregnancy or around the time of birth. Cases of pregnancy loss and other pregnancy-related complications have been reported in women infected with Zika during pregnancy.

Babies born to women infected with Zika during pregnancy have been reported to have birth defects as well as other problems. Recently, the CDC concluded that Zika virus infection during pregnancy is a cause of microcephaly – a birth defect which causes a baby’s head to be smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age.

Zika has been linked with other birth defects as well, including eye defects, hearing loss, and impaired growth. However, it is important to note that not all babies whose mothers had Zika during pregnancy are born with health problems. Women who are infected with Zika virus later during pregnancy, in the third trimester and around the time of birth, are less likely to have a baby born with microcephaly.

Are there risks for future pregnancies?
Based on the available evidence, the CDC does not think that women who contract Zika before becoming pregnant are at risk for future pregnancy complications, as long as the virus has cleared from the bloodstream before conception. Nor do they think that babies born to mothers who once had Zika are at risk for Zika-related birth defects. From what we know about similar infections, once a person has been infected with Zika, he or she will most likely be protected from a future Zika infection.

Do I have to worry about traveling in the U.S. this summer?
There have been no reported cases of anyone getting Zika from a mosquito in the U.S. (except Puerto Rico) but there have been cases which people who contracted the virus while traveling abroad came back to the New York City area with the virus. No local mosquito-borne Zika cases have yet been reported in U.S. However, given the recent outbreak of Zika, the number of Zika cases among travelers visiting or returning to the U.S. will likely increase. These imported cases could result in local spread of the virus in some areas of the U.S.

What can I do to protect my family against Zika?
Prevent mosquito bites.

  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellants with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para-menthane-diol. Choosing an EPA-registered repellent ensures the EPA has evaluated the product for effectiveness. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breast-feeding women.
  • Dress your child in clothing that covers his/her arms and legs.
  • Cover your crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.
  • Do not use insect repellent on babies under 3 months of age.
  • Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on children younger than 3 years old.
  • In children older than 3 months, do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, or to irritated or broken skin.
  • Never spray insect repellent directly on a child’s face. Instead, spray it on your hands and then apply sparingly, taking care to avoid the eyes and mouth.
  • Treat clothing and gear with the insecticide permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated items.
  • Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings. See product information to learn how long the protection will last.
  • If you are treating items such as clothing or gear yourself, follow the product instructions carefully.
  • Do NOT use permethrin products directly on skin. They are intended to treat clothing.
  • Control mosquitoes inside and outside your home.

What should I do if my child has symptoms?If your child has symptoms, take him or her to see a doctor or other healthcare provider.
If you or a loved one starts displaying Zika symptoms after traveling to an affected area, such as fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes please contact a health care provider immediately and describe where you have traveled. Fever (more than 100.4° F) in a baby less than 3 months old always requires evaluation by a medical professional. If your baby is less than 3 months old and has a fever, call your health care provider or immediately seek medical care.

The CDC provides updates on Zika regularly, as does the NYS Department of Health (DOH). Please check the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the DOHhttps://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/zika_virus/ for more information. 
The DOH also has a Zika hotline: 1-888-364-4723, available Monday – Friday (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

About Dr. Neal Shipley
An emergency physician for more than 20 years, Dr. Shipley is board certified in Emergency Medicine and practices medicine in Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care centers. He has served as chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at New York City’s North General Hospital and the Jersey City Medical Center. He was assistant professor of Emergency Medicine at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine and director of quality and patient safety for the Department of Emergency Medicine at New York Presbyterian Hospital. He is a graduate of Princeton University and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. A father of three boys, Dr. Shipley understands the need for urgent care without the long wait and high cost of emergency rooms.

About Northwell Health-GoHealth
At Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care, we place the needs of our patients first – by providing an effortless patient experience, a welcoming culture of care and seamless integration with Northwell Health’s electronic medical records. Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care’s network has developed new urgent care centers across the greater New York area, spanning Long Island, Queens, Westchester, Staten Island and Manhattan. Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care network currently includes 23 centers, with plans to open 15 more by the end of 2016. The centers combine GoHealth Urgent Care’s award-winning and inviting facility design with Northwell Health’s best-in-class, quality providers. All of Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care’s centers operate seven days a week with extended evening hours and welcome walk-in patients, with the opportunity to “save your spot” by checking-in online. Each center features x-ray equipment and a lab, combined with an integrated electronic medical record system that can be accessed by caregivers across Northwell Health. To learn more, please visit: www.gohealthuc.com/northwell

Why You Should Avoid Taking Ibuprofen When You’re Drinking

Source: SELF Online

By Amy Marturana

June 22, 2016

Pain relievers like Advil (ibuprofen) and Tylenol (acetaminophen) can have some dicey effects when mixed with alcohol.

Lots of medications come with the warning to av...

Why You Should Avoid Taking Ibuprofen When You’re Drinking

Source: SELF Online

By Amy Marturana

June 22, 2016

Pain relievers like Advil (ibuprofen) and Tylenol (acetaminophen) can have some dicey effects when mixed with alcohol.

Lots of medications come with the warning to avoid alcohol when you’re taking them. Antibiotics are a tough one to accept, especially if you’re not feeling particularly sick from what ails you. But reading the labels on pain relievers like Advil (ibuprofen) and Tylenol (acetaminophen) and learning that severe side effects are more likely when you mix them with booze feels downright torturous—especially when your head is pounding and popping a few pills promises sweet relief.

The warnings aren’t there just to taunt you, though. In fact, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and even aspirin, come with potential dangers if you make a habit of taking them with alcohol. “All have risks if you take them, period, as do all medications, but the risks for all three increase if you take them when you drink,” Debra E. Brooks, M.D., an urgent care physician at GoHealth Urgent Care, tells SELF. This goes for immediately post-imbibing, too, when you’re trying to preemptively treat the hangover-induced headache you know will hit in the A.M.

Ibuprofen is a NSAID, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. It works as a pain reducer and, you guessed it, also reduces inflammation. The most concerning side effect is that ibuprofen can cause irritation in the lining of the stomach that can lead to ulcers and bleeding, sometimes without warning. Alcohol on its own is a known irritant to the stomach lining and can cause ulcers in heavy drinkers, so and adding ibuprofen into the mix can compound the effects. Ibuprofen can also be toxic to the liver and kidneys, and though it isn’t a blood thinner, may alter how blood coagulates, either to form clots more easily or to cause easier bleeding, Brooks says.

Your other go-to option is probably acetaminophen, or Tylenol. “It’s completely different, and its analgesic effects have a different mechanism,” Brooks says. It doesn’t affect your blood’s clotting abilities nor does it hurt your stomach lining. But acetaminophen is more toxic to the liver and more often associated with liver failure—often and without warning, Brooks notes—than NSAIDs. When you’re drinking, you’re already sending a toxic substance to your liver and making it work overtime to filter it out. Adding acetaminophen puts additional, overwhelming stress on the organ, increasing the risk of damage.

Aspirin is also a NSAID, and additionally, works as a blood-thinner. “It is an anti-platelet medicine, which means it makes it harder for blood to clot,” Brooks says. That’s why it’s sometimes recommended as preventive medication for those at high risk of heart disease. Its effects on the liver and kidneys are similar to ibuprofen, and it can also cause bleeding in the GI tract. “Alcohol multiplies the blood-thinner effects of aspirin, and heavy drinkers are already at risk of bleeds due to previous damage to the stomach and liver, so they are at far greater risk of bleeding.”

There is some good news: If you’re relatively healthy, and have no existing problems like gastritis or ulcers, or issues with your kidneys or liver, “taking any of these if you are going out to dinner and having one drink is most likely safe,” Brooks reassures. If you have a choice, you probably want to reach for NSAIDs over acetaminophen, which is the worst for your liver. Food also buffers the effects of both alcohol and NSAIDs, so eating something at the same time can help mitigate potential side effects. But if you’re drinking heavily, it might not be so safe. “Again, this depends on the genetic make up and the prior history of the person imbibing. In a certain way, it’s Russian roulette. It’s not a problem, until one day it is,” Brooks says.

When it comes to the morning after, it’s unclear how much of a risk remains because it’s dependent on so many factors including how much the person drinks in general, and how much alcohol is still in their body.

If you have to take pain medication during or after imbibing, curb your drinking to be safe. If you’re popping pills in anticipation of the morning after, it’s best to prevent a hangover the old-fashioned way: by chugging lots of water. Or just don’t drink enough to be hungover in the first place. 

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