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Physician-owned Advocare looks to enter urgent care market

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Urgent care has become a booming business in New Jersey’s health care industry, and for Advocare, southern New Jersey’s largest physician-owned practice, it is the next logical step for growth.

Dr. Howard Orel, CEO and one of Advocare’s founders, said that the Marlton-based company will open pediatric and adult urgent care centers in the southern and northern parts of the state. He did not give further details.

“Unfortunately, we’re still in the process where contracts haven’t been signed yet, so there’s a confidentiality aspect to it,” said Orel.

According to urgentcarelocations.com, the Garden State has 182 urgent care clinics and another 274 walk-in clinics, an increase of more than 50 percent over the past decade. That makes urgent care one of the fastest growing segments of the state’s health care industry.

Orel said what will differentiate Advocare’s urgent care centers from others is its patients not only will have access to care during off-hours, the centers themselves will also be able to access and update the company’s electronic health care records.

“The centers will be open in several markets where our practices are located for both pediatric and adult urgent care, and for patients whose needs are greater than we can currently meet in in an office setting but not sufficient for someone to go to the emergency room” Orel said.

“The patients’ care providers will have access to their electronic health records so that the patients’ primary care doctor is aware of what is happening almost in real time,” he said. “So when the primary care doctor comes in to the office in the morning that doctor knows what’s happened, and if a follow-up is needed, our offices can be proactive in arranging that.”

Advocare is the second largest physician-owned, multispecialty practice in New Jersey next to Summit Medical Group, with 175 offices in New Jersey and another seven in Pennsylvania. Roughly 70 percent of its nearly 600 physicians are in primary care, and the other 30 percent are specialists. It will be celebrating its 20th anniversary next month.

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Vince Calio

Vince Calio

Vince Calio covers health care and manufacturing for NJBIZ. You can contact him at vcalio@njbiz.com.

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