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Urgent Care Centers in Maricopa County, Arizona

Kevin Carranza - 2020 Spring Graduate 

This project was an overview of Urgent Care Centers (UCCs) generally -- their growth and their evolving role in the spectrum of healthcare -- as well as a detailed look at UCCs in Maricopa County. The client was Equality Health, a local integrated healthcare delivery system who, because they work with and own many provider types, was interested data on UCC growth, location trends, and procedure trends. The project sought to answer Equality Health's questions and also consider UCCs from a planning and zoning perspective: how have cities and their residents addressed UCCs, if at all?

The project used literature review, GIS, headline searches, and a few spatial statistical tools to try to furnish answers to the above questions. Ultimately, results indicated that UCCs in Maricopa County locate simply where there are more people, rather than target certain groups (like those with private insurance) or avoid others (like those with Medicaid insurance). It also found that, among Medicare patients, slightly less than 1 in 10 procedures billed by a UCC were among the services most commonly performed by Arizona primary care providers, which suggests that some Medicare patients may be using UCCs as a stand-in for primary care. The report found that some cities and states are addressing UCCs in their municipal code and statutes; the project concludes with a handful of recommendations for public entities. These include, at the state level, considering ways to integrate UCCs into healthcare networks, and at the city level, defining UCCs in the zoning code and potentially reviewing all health care uses (including UCCs) to keep land use policies up to date with a changing healthcare landscape.

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