Once booming urgent care business sees steep drop in patient visits

Regional health care providers say they've had to consolidate sites, move staff

Megan Lynch
May 08, 2020 - 8:45 am

ST. LOUIS, MO (KMOX) - Just a few months ago, urgent care business was booming.  Now patient visits are down, dramatically.

"We've certainly seen a drop in some patient traffic," says Keith Dacus, CEO of Mercy GoHealth Urgent Care and VP of Business Development.  "I would say that our volumes have dropped by 30 to 40%."

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Dacus says Mercy has been able to avoid furloughs by moving some urgent care staff to other duties and has transitioned some of its traditional urgent care sites to test collection centers.  "We've had to adapt to what's going on and change some of our locations to fit what the need is in our community right now." 

Across the river, Anderson Hospital has also seen a big decline in patient traffic at its urgent care centers, forcing the provider to consolidate into just two urgent care sites.

Medical professionals say they're concerned people are delaying treatment for serious conditions.

Like other health care groups, Mercy added telehealth and has seen a steady increase in use by patients.  Dacus says telemedicine may become the "new normal", provided insurers continue to cover video visits. 

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