State seeks to rein in largely unregulated urgent care industry

For years, the urgent care industry has grown rapidly, with walk-in clinics popping up across Massachusetts to treat patients with colds, infections, cuts, sprains, and other common ailments. Yet the industry remains largely unregulated. Urgent care has become a common term in health care — but it has no state definition in Massachusetts, making these centers difficult if not impossible to monitor, according to state officials.

“Our goal is to provide high-quality, affordable, and accessible health care to everyone in the Commonwealth,” Senator Cindy F. Friedman, cochair of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Health Care Financing, said in a statement. “Urgent care centers provide this kind of health care to our residents — so yes, they too should be subject to regulations and oversight.”

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