Posted: 7:35 p.m. Thursday, April 16, 2015
By John Pacenti – Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
A spider bite blew up Stuart Reid’s left calf.
In the past, Reid would have headed right to the emergency room. But last month, the part-time Palm Beach resident went to Palm Beach Urgent Care where medical staff assessed it as a bite from the poisonous brown recluse spider.
Jim Lobel, CEO of Palm Beach Urgent Care, in West Palm Beach.
“It was pretty nasty,” said Reid, who also lives in Nantucket, Mass., and sells property for a living. “They were efficient and did a great job. If I was in charge of a hospital, I’d be concerned about these clinics.”
Urgent care clinics are sprouting up like St. Augustine grass in summer here in South Florida, continuing a trend 0ver the last decade. Hospitals, big-box pharmacies and supermarkets like Walgreens and Wal-Mart are also getting in on the action.
Urgent care is new way of consuming medicine in the age of Obamacare — estimated to be a $16.2 billion industry in 2015. Worldwide, urgent care clinics are expected to reach revenues of up to $30.5 billion by 2020
Jim Lobel is the CEO and partner in Palm Beach Urgent Care, with facilities in West Palm Beach and Royal Palm Beach. He also is the CEO and partner in Indian River Walk-in Clinic in Vero Beach. His company serves more than 40,000 patients a year among the three clinics.
“It’s anecdotal, but I believe Obamacare has played a huge part of it,” Lobel said. “We are seeing more insured patients as a result of it.”
Dr. Franz Ritucci, president of the American Academy of Urgent Care Medicine, based in Orlando, agreed: “ More people are getting their insurance and they are saying, ‘You know what? I can go see the doctor now.’”