Although BCBSNC declined to give specifics about its financial investment in FastMed, Darcie Dearth, a BCBSNC spokesperson, said the investment will allow FastMed to expand its network of physician-owned clinics across the state over the next two years.
Underserved areas will be a priority, Dearth explains. In some areas of North Carolina, a visit to the ED is the only option for immediate care. Expanding into those areas will enable the NC Blues plan to divert non-emergency care from expensive EDs.
Hickman says the investment in urgent care centers provides insurers with the opportunity to proactively influence cost and quality. "It's really a means to an end. It's a way to get the right treatment to the right people at the right time."