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In April 2016, I wrote an article for our blog entitled “Tough Talk Around Walk-in Medicine” in which I listed the top-10 focal points for hospital-based urgent care operators. The article covered some of the typical challenges for hospitals who are trying to compete with more nimble private-equity-backed and private urgent care operators.

That was five years ago. While the pace of change in urgent care medicine continues, it is amazing how those 10 focal points are still a major issue for many hospital-owned urgent care operators. The top-three focal points from that article: 1. The Brand Promise; 2. Leadership and Organization; 3. Profitability. (If you would like a PDF copy of that article, send a request to

As we ponder a post-Covid world, these three issues could not be more relevant. The brand promise now must incorporate a simple and consistent approach to triage and virtual care, including how they are integrated with traditional in-person care within brick-and-mortar facilities. Waiting rooms, transparent pricing, hours of operation and scope of services all have had to be rethought.

When it comes to leadership and organization, we have never seen more emphasis on innovation and adaptability, something that is much more challenging in a compliance-laden health system environment. Nevertheless, urgent care leaders have no choice but to pivot rapidly and sometimes that means breaking away from the traditional organization chart. If this doesn’t happen, private urgent care chains will outmaneuver health systems easily.

And tolerating losses by health system urgent care platforms will soon be a thing of the past given the horrendous financial conditions many health systems face as a result of the pandemic.

Yet, privately backed urgent care chains are not without huge challenges. In fact, private equity funds that have held back from urgent care are looking at a great time to deploy their dry powder. Starting today from scratch given the dramatically different characteristics of “modern urgent care” or “urgent care 3.0” theoretically seems a lot more attractive than trying to plow more money into first- or second-generation urgent care centers.

One recommendation: conduct an assessment of your market, including a competitive analysis and an estimate of the annual available market of urgent care visits net what competitors are already taking out. We have a very efficient way of going about that. Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

Our next ConvUrgentCare Strategy Symposium will take place virtually March 1-3. Thriving or surviving in a post-Covid world will be a constant undercurrent during every session over the three days of this conference. How has Covid impacted commercial retail inventory, urgent care deal activity, price multiples and new technologies? Do we see a bounce back of traditional urgent care services after Covid testing has dominated patient volumes? Are truth and science taking a back seat in patients’ minds to the hottest social media sites and conspiracy theories?

The urgent care world has evolved in such a way that none of us would have expected. One thing remains true, however. No one person has all the answers. We started this strategy symposium 13 years ago to bring together the best minds in on-demand care, both on the stage and in the audience. Below is the agenda for this year’s symposium. We hope you will be able to join us. Click here to link to Merchant Medicine’s symposium home page where you will find information on speakers and registration. On some mobile phones look for a “+” sign to expand sub links.

PLEASE NOTE:  If you are a supplier to the industry, please don’t register as an attendee.  Contact us directly for sponsor information.  Vendors who register as attendees will be refunded their registration fees and provided information about our 2021 sponsor program.


9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Sponsor Thought Leader Presentations and Virtual Platform Orientation

12:00 p.m. Lunch Break and Networking

1:30 p.m. Tom Charland, President, Merchant Medicine, and Kate Lovrien, Managing Director, Health System Advisors – Welcome and Introductions

1:50 p.m. Arielle Trzcinski, Senior Analyst, Application Development and Delivery, Forrester Research – Engaging healthcare customers in new and innovative ways.

2:35 p.m. Short Break

2:40 p.m. Drew Palin, MD, Chairman and Chief Innovation Officer, Intellivisit – The growing use of AI in healthcare, including urgent care.

3:30 p.m. Break and Networking

3:45 p.m. John Jesser, President, Clinical Solutions, Amwell – Where is telemedicine headed and how can providers benefit in a post-Covid world.

4:35 p.m. Short Break

4:40 p.m. Technology and Innovation Panel Discussion


9 a.m. Welcome and Announcements

9:10 a.m. Rep. Angie Craig, (D-MN) U.S. House of Representatives – Insights from Washington on healthcare policy and directions.

9:30 a.m. Short Break

9:35 a.m. Kyle McGowan, Founding Partner, Ascendant Strategic Partners – A view from inside the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) over the last 12 months.

10:00 a.m. Short Break

10:05 a.m. Mai Pham MD, MPH, Founder and President, Institute for Exceptional Care – Payer perspective on the last 12 months and its impact on a post-Covid world.

10:30 a.m. Break and Networking

10:45 a.m. Panel Discussion: “Truth, Science and the Future of Healthcare” – Kyle McGowan, Mai Pham, former U.S. Senator David Durenberger and ED Physician Carolyn McClain.

11:45 a.m. Lunch Break and Networking

1:00 p.m. Brandon Robertson, Managing Director, Urgent Care Partners – Introduction to afternoon urgent care session: “The emergence of modern urgent care in a post-Covid world.”

1:15 p.m. Michael Allen, CPA, FHFMA, Chief Financial Officer, OSF Healthcare – Luke Peterson of Health System Advisors will interview Mike Allen, capturing Modern Urgent Care through the lens of a health system CFO. The two will address profitability, strategic importance, ownership and the building of new consumer relationships.

2:05 p.m. Short Break

2:10 p.m. April Gillam, COO, Urgent Care for Kids – How a new generation of parents and their children are changing the face of urgent care.

3:00 p.m. Break and Networking

3:15 p.m. Robert Graw, Jr., MD, founder and CEO, Righttime Medical Care, a division of MedStar Health Urgent Care – Innovation, community engagement and the inevitability of telemedicine.

4:05 p.m. Short Break

4:10 p.m. Jeremy Adams, Managing Director, Jones, Lang LaSalle (JLL) – Covid-19 and the commercial real estate market: identifying risks and opportunities.

5:00 p.m. Adjourn


9:30 a.m. Welcome and Announcements

9:40 a.m. Marc Anderson, Managing Director, The Belay Group – Recent and future deal activity in the ambulatory care world in general and urgent care in particular.

10:30 a.m. Short Break

10:35 a.m. Wallace B. Doolin, Co-Founder and Board Member, Black Box Intelligence – How lessons from the restaurant industry could change urgent care for the better.

11:25 a.m. Break and Networking

11:40 a.m. Urgent Care Quality Group (UCQG) Presentation and Panel Discussion – The recently formed UCQG will discuss results from Phase 2 of its quality benchmarking activity and its planned initiatives and meetings in 2021.

12:30-3:00 p.m. Lunch and Networking

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