CONSULTING

At Merchant Medicine our singular focus is walk-in medicine.  The Merchant Medicine team offer extensive history and depth of experience in the field, unrivaled by other consulting firms.  Our proprietary competitor database and advanced market assessment methodology are simply not available anywhere else.  We are innovators deeply involved in the on-demand community with a primary focus on collaborating with health systems and large medical groups who must compete head to head with disruptive forces in this space.

We focus on what we call ConvUrgentCare®, the mingling of operating strategies and tactics from the various submarkets of primary care medicine:  preventive medicine, chronic disease management, convenient care (retail clinics), urgent care, work site clinics and telehealth.  Most ConvUrgentCare strategies and tactics are aimed at increasing access, shortening wait times, improving customer service and promoting price transparency.  Taken together, all of these individual market segments represent a mass market that will be critical as population management and risk-based contracts proliferate.  We believe that strategic planning executives must consider all of these market segments holistically or risk disruption.

Our Merchant Medicine engagement methodology governs our delivery and work quality.  We bring extensive tools and benchmarking data from 30+ long-running engagements at walk-in operators and health systems around the US over the last nine years.  For example, some of our toolkits or analyses include: Operations Reviews; Performance Assessments; Volume & Reimbursement Analysis, ED & PCP Shift Patterns, P&L with Key Metrics, Capex Budget & Timing; Existing Medical Group, ED, & UC Analysis; Project Facility Design; Site Selection Due Diligence; Governance & Structure; Organization Design; Operations, Staffing & Recruiting Workflow; Revenue Cycle & Coding Assessment; Clinical Workflow Analysis; Branding & Marketing Plan; Technology Plan and Implementation; Employer Services Program; Center Launch Plan.

Merchant Medicine is and continues to be built around data, publishing, community and consulting:

  • Consulting – Every healthcare market is different and we've been helping health systems and medical groups improve the walk-in medicine experience since 2007.  Our work, while highly confidential and proprietary to our clients, is reference-able between hospital executives that utilize Merchant Medicine.  We protect our reputation and client interests, including excusing ourselves from engagements that conflict with an existing active hospital client.
  • Data – No firm collects more data about the walk-in medicine space than we do.  With solid data, decision making is strengthened.
  • Publishing – Solid data enables us to identify trends before anyone else, and we publish those trends and data for our clients in a monthly market report.  Our clients are always the first ones to see breaking trends in the walk-in medicine industry.
  • Community – By linking together progressive clinic operators, data collection and an annual symposium, we have developed a community around the best thinking in the walk-in medicine market.

Other reputable consultants often use Merchant Medicine (MM) data and thought leadership.  A number of leading firms subscribe to Merchant Medicine’s monthly market report and attend its symposium.  However, only Merchant Medicine specializes in working with medical group and hospital clientele, and brings direct executive owner/operator on-the-ground experience in the walk-in medicine space that our clients require.

Sample Case Studies

A large medical group in the Northeast was faced with increasing competition while at the same time entering into risk-based payer contracts.  The group found itself referring patients to a local urgent care center in order to meet the cost incentives in its payer contracts.  Yet this urgent care center, operated by a competitive medical group, would refer downstream cases away from our client’s specialists.  MM was retained to conduct a comprehensive market analysis and present recommendation that included the identification of a joint venture partner.  Client executed a definitive agreement to open urgent care centers that would become a far more consumer-centric option than those operated by its competitor.

A large academic medical center in the South was operating two urgent care centers in one of the most saturated walk-in medicine markets in the country, with three private-equity-backed urgent care operators and the top-three retail clinic operators.  When its most significant hospital competitor formed a joint venture with one of these private-equity-backed urgent care operators MM was retained to conduct a complete market analysis.  MM then developed a site selection and operating plan to enable this organization to re-launch its walk-in medicine operation on a stronger footing.

A large, multi-hospital health system on the West Coast operated a number of retail clinics and urgent care centers across a broad geographic area.  The system was disappointed with their retail clinic performance and retained MM to conduct a market assessment and operations analysis for one of its primary regions.  The resulting analysis showed that the system overbuilt walk-in medicine capacity based on the service area population and demographics.  MM recommended specific closures, a course of action that was undertaken by the health system.

A $350M+ annual revenue health system in the northeastern U.S. has a full suite of capabilities and existing urgent care centers.  The system is a long-standing innovator with a legacy of strong community reputation, top financial credit rating, system-based health plan, strong payer contracts, and dominant regional position.  Client recognized the strategic nature of its urgent care platform and faces new market competition with rate pressures from a private-equity backed urgent care operators and publicly traded hospital systems.  This health system was concerned with outside firms steering patients into other hospitals. Client retained MM to run a three-month financial and operational diagnostic on existing urgent care centers, devise a strategy and build a playbook to strengthen market presence, and add units to grow their service line over 36 months.  MM was been retained in a follow-on central leadership role as Urgent Care Director to implement recommended changes, including driving transformation projects, governance, and focusing on competitive best practices.

A $2.5B+ annual revenue health system in the mid-Atlantic has 5-10 urgent cares and extensive health system resources, including innovative health plan products.  Client is a top-earning system in the U.S. and financially strong.  System also controls the local market and has multiple freestanding emergency departments and primary care practices in the same markets as its urgent care business.  Client sought to turn around urgent care financial performance to reach industry benchmarks, and compete effectively against new market competition, including other systems and private-equity backed operators.  New operators were opening centers in the system's core territories and impacting service lines.  Client retained MM to conduct a detailed diagnostic on existing unprofitable urgent care centers over two months, design a financial turn-around plan with a playbook to strengthen market presence, and add units to the service line over 36 months.  MM was been retained in follow-on leadership role to implement recommended changes through coaching existing management, driving a project portfolio, and instill an owner/operator mindset across the center team.

An independent $250M+ annual revenue health system in the mid-Atlantic U.S. with a teaching hospital legacy faced aggressive market entry from competing nearby health systems on all sides, including a new urgent care and other ambulatory sites within minutes of the central hospital.  Client recognized it could not afford to remain independent if it did not control the walk-in market.  It had no urgent care or retail/consumer service line experience. Client retained MM to run a market assessment, align leadership around trends, and design a full go-to-market program to build multiple urgent care centers. MM built the client's playbook to maintain independence and create an urgent care service line over 36 months.  MM was been retained in a follow-on leadership role to implement recommended changes and bring an owner/operator focus to the system.