Making Convenient Care the Right Care for All: Improving State Oversight of Urgent Care Centers and Retail Health Clinics

A growing number of health care consumers are turning to urgent care centers and retail health clinics, which have rapidly proliferated across the country in recent years and are sometimes referred to as “convenient care.” Urgent care centers have played a particularly critical role in meeting the high demand for COVID-19 testing and are likely to be actively involved in providing COVID 19 vaccines. 

However, health care advocates and policymakers are only now beginning to scrutinize oversight of these clinics and consider whether they are serving a fair share of low-income or uninsured consumers and are providing an appropriate array of services, including urgent reproductive and sexual health care. This brief draws from a survey of regulation of urgent care centers and retail health clinics in all 50 states to assess the current state of oversight for these increasingly key players in the health care delivery system.