Sentara partners with for-profit group

Published 12:23 pm Wednesday, September 6, 2017

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

Sentara Healthcare has signed a letter of intent with Practice Velocity, which will manage its urgent care facilities, including Sentara St. Luke’s in Carrollton.

Practice Velocity, a for-profit company with its headquarters in Machesney Park, Ill., is a software and billing company that works with urgent care facilities, according to its website.

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Practice Velocity plans to manage all of Sentara Healthcare’s urgent care facilities in Virginia, according to Sentara spokesperson Kelsea Smith. 

The company claims it can increase profits through more accurate coding and documentation, improve performance and simplify management, according to the company’s website. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Sentara is a not-for-profit organization, according to Smith.

Smith said Sentara is working with Practice Velocity because it focuses on improving performance, simplifying operational elements and delivering consistent, high-level care.

“In addition, it has industry experience in operating urgent care centers across the country,” she said.

Sentara will continue to provide the same level of service and maintain the same lab tests the center currently has, and which are Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)-approved, said Smith.

More complex tests will be sent to Norfolk as they always have, said Smith.

CLIA amendments of the 1988 regulations include federal standards for facilities that use human specimens to assess, diagnose, prevent or treat disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

When it comes to fees, self-pay pricing typically includes a flat fee for anything provided in the urgent care center regardless of the services provided, making pricing very transparent and easy to understand, said Smith.

Because high deductible insurance plans are currently prevalent, there is a high rate of self-pay patients across the country, even among patients with health insurance. This means many patients are familiar with paying out of pocket for the types of care they’d seek at an urgent care center, said Smith.

“We will offer a discounted cash pay price which may be used by any individual who is either uninsured, out of network, or who chooses not to use their insurance. Additionally, we will maintain a list of community providers including federally qualified health centers, which is where we would refer stable, non-emergent patients. This is standard practice across the entire urgent care industry. Most importantly, we remain entirely committed to providing a high level of care that our patients have come to expect and deserve,” said Smith.

The Sentara St. Luke’s medical complex opened in 2010.  {/mprestriction}