How many normal ambulatory/outpatient (non-hospital) medical clinics are there in the US?
Hello! Thank you for your question about the number of ambulatory/outpatient (non-hospital) medical clinics are there in the U.S.. The short answer is that there are 34,752 ambulatory care centers in the U.S. of which 7,100 are "urgent care". What follows is an explanation of my methodology and findings.
To best answer your question, I searched for statistics from several sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Center for Health Statistics at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and Statista, a well-regarded database of over 60,000 topics compiled from 18,000 sources. I determined that ambulatory services includes numerous sectors, including physician and dentist office visits, outpatient health care centers (both preventative and treatment), home health care services and lab services. For this request, I identified establishments that are considered "immediate" or "urgent" care, as opposed to ambulatory surgical centers, dialysis centers and other medical establishments,
The U.S. Census Bureau releases economic data every 5 years, the most recent year being 2012. Data from 2012 indicates that there were 34,752 outpatient care centers (identified according to NAICS codes) in the U.S., an increase of 30.6% as compared to 2007. There is no mention of clinics that are employer-specific; however, it is reasonable to assume that health care facilities that are situated on company grounds are classified under a different code and are considered health or wellness departments.
Outpatient centers as described above include ambulatory surgical centers, dialysis centers, labs and immediate care establishments. By searching for U.S. census data for "other" outpatient care centers - those not specific for a particular type of procedure or condition - I found that 7,098 such facilities existed.
To confirm my findings, I consulted the website for the Urgent Care Association of America, which showed 7,100 full-service urgent care centers in the U.S.. The Association clarifies that clinics included in this count are also referred to as "immediate care", "walk in" and "convenient care" and also provide preventative services such as check-ups and immunizations. This number does not include retail clinics (i.e., walk-in clinics located within pharmacies and retail stores). Urgent care clinics provide full outpatient services including x-rays and lab testing. Since federal registration of urgent care clinics is not required, there is no other reliable tracking tool.
Further, I tried to reconcile this figure with data available from the National Center for Health Statistics at the CDC. While there is a plethora of data is available relating to physician's visits and services rendered, there was no available data on number of establishments,
Finally, I searched data on Statista's website, However, the total number of U.S. ambulatory health care establishments found there (approximately 547,000 in 2007, growing to 590,000 in 2014) included all types of outpatient establishments including medical and dental office visits, outpatient surgical centers, ambulatory clinics at hospitals, etc.. Based on your question, I believe the Statista number is not appropriate for your purposes.
To wrap up, there are 34,752 ambulatory care centers in the U.S. of which 7,100 are "urgent care". Medical and dental offices, outpatient surgical centers, testing labs and other outpatient offices customarily are classified as ambulatory care centers.
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