Q1 2024-Urgent Caring Message from the CUCM President


Dear CUCM members,  

Are you ready to Recharge in Las Vegas? I am. I hope that you are finalizing your plans to join us at the Urgent Care Convention because the passion of our members and their commitment to Urgent Care makes the Convention special. It is something I look forward to every year. I’m also looking forward to seeing you all at the annual CUCM member’s meeting on Monday, April 15, at 7:30 a.m. Breakfast will be provided.  

If you have not done so already, please make sure that you vote in the CUCM Board of Directors election. We have some outstanding candidates running for CUCM Board of Directors positions for the 2024-2027 cycle, so make your vote count!  

Please join me in congratulating Jasmeet Bhogal, MD, MBA, FCUCM, the recipient of the 2024 Sean McNeely Advancing the Specialty Award and JD Zipkin, MD, the recipient of the 2024 Joe Toscano Inspiring Excellence Award. Dr. Bhogal and Dr. Zipkin will receive their awards at the Urgent Care Foundation Celebration on Monday, April 15, during the Convention. 

Urgent Care: What is the future? 

The COVID-19 pandemic has permanently altered the landscape of healthcare in the U.S. During the pandemic, many clinics reduced services except for Urgent Care clinics. Urgent Care rose to the challenge and treated patients who otherwise could not easily access care. Now that the pandemic is over, patients continue to utilize Urgent Care for their healthcare needs. 

Due to gaps in primary care and the high costs of emergency medicine, the demand for Urgent Care will continue to grow. The challenges we face include managing patient expectations and redefining our scope of care but also ensuring there isn’t scope degradation and supporting individual clinicians to prevent burnout.  

As of 2024, we have 27,000 Urgent Care clinicians staffing 14,500 Urgent Care clinics in the U.S.  Why are we not recognized as a specialty by our peers? After all, Urgent Care isn’t primary care. Urgent Care isn’t emergency medicine. Urgent Care is Urgent Care. This is why “Advancing the Specialty” is an important initiative. Part of our completed work included developing a scope and competencies list for Urgent Care clinics, as well as partnering with others to create a skills assessment test. But a lot of work is still needed.  

It is my hope that in the future, we will be recognized as a specialty. We are working hard to develop relationships with the AMA, AAPA and AANP to develop tools that clinicians need to succeed in this profession. Ultimately, this can only improve public perception and patient outcomes, which hopefully translates to better reimbursement by payers and higher salaries for clinicians. This is a huge task that will require the coordinated effort of our members, and we need your help. Our collective voice can make this happen.  

Finally, this will be my last President’s letter as my term ends this year. It has been an honor and privilege to serve as President of the College. I look forward to introducing the next President at the member’s meeting in Las Vegas.  


Chris Chao, MD, President, College of Urgent Care Medicine Board of Directors