Should You Go To An Urgent Care Clinic?
If you sprain yourself from a fall or if you’re experiencing a debilitating headache, your first instinct might be to call and set an appointment with a doctor.
When your doctor is not available at a moment’s notice, what do you do?
Luckily, there are urgent care centers that have responded to this need. You can no go to urgent care clinics for when you need immediate medical care for conditions that do not warrant a trip to the emergency room.
What is an Urgent Care Clinic?
An urgent care clinic is a facility with physicians that offer walk-in services. They focus on helping people with illnesses and injuries that are not life-threatening.
Here are cases that an urgent care clinic can treat:
- Cuts and bruises
- Eye irritation
- A sore throat
- Colds and Flu
- Suturing (or stitches) for minor lacerations
- Accidents (sprains, strains, etc.)
- Abdominal pain
- Allergic reaction (not anaphylaxis)
- Urinary tract Infections
- Back problems
- Vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration
Urgent Care Clinics Basic Facts
Unlike retail clinics, urgent care clinics treat acute illnesses, although they do not provide life-saving measures.
The primary advantage of this clinic is that you can walk-in with no appointment needed. It is perfect for unexpected issues that arise that require immediate attending.
These centers have qualified physicians on staff. Some will even refill your prescriptions for you.
Picture an emergency room for acute illnesses minus the long waiting time and the crowd of people inside, that’s what it is.
An urgent care center has flexible hours. They are open on weekdays and weekends, all day and into the evening. They don’t close during lunch hours which makes it convenient to head on over to them during your lunch break.
Little to No Wait Time
Wait times in urgent care centers are less than the ER, which is good news if you have very little time to spare in your day to go and have yourself checked and treated.
Most urgent care centers have X-ray machines and lab testing within them for a speedy diagnosis.
The cost for a trip to an urgent care center is less than if you had gone to an emergency room. What it will cost you is just about the same as a trip to the doctor’s office. Your co-pay will most likely be much lower than a visit to the local emergency department.
When To Choose Urgent Care over ER
The major determining factor depends on what you are experiencing:
The Emergency Room is for true medical emergencies or when your condition is life-threatening, like a heart attack, heavy bleeding, major fractures, broken bones, etc.
Health concerns for urgent care relate to headaches, cold and flu-like symptoms, skin lesions, minor burns, minor pains, minor infections, strains and sprains, reproductive concerns, pneumonia, etc.
The Advantage Of Urgent Care Centers Over Emergency Rooms
The First Urgent Care Centers opened in the 1970s and have proved to be an excellent alternative to hospital emergency rooms, offering urgent care with the right price and the right convenience.
You can save time
Prepare to wait for a much shorter period of 30 minutes or less, very unlike your experience in emergency rooms.
Urgent Care Centers are open beyond regular hours in rural, urban and suburban areas.
A broad range of services
The range of services provided by urgent care centers is broader in nature to make everything more convenient for you.
Most clinics allow you to schedule appointments to avoid delays. In the United States of America, 70% of urgent care centers open by 8:00 AM or earlier and 95% close after 7:00 PM.
You can save money
With the same quality of care afforded by urgent care centers, they are more affordable compared to emergency room costs. With urgent care centers, there are no hidden charges, no doctor’s fees, no staff fees, no bed rents, and all that make trips to hospitals more expensive.
Emergency room costs are 700% more than the price for the same quality medical care you can receive at an urgent care facility.
Your medical insurance usually covers the clinical charges. Co-payments are also generally low for these types of services compared to visits to the ER.
No facility fee
In urgent care facilities, you can submit your insurance claim, and you will receive a single bill. Unlike visits to the emergency rooms, the hospital will charge you the facility fee and a physician’s fee.
More urgent care facilities spread out
Most urgent care centers are very near to your house. With the average number of urgent care facilities at 9,3000, 75 % of which are in the suburbs. Whereas to visit an emergency room, you need to travel to urban areas.
If you have an acute illness and would like immediate care, try walking in the nearest urgent care center near you. Not only will the wait time be less, but the costs will be less.
The next time you experience pain and discomfort or suffer a minor injury, know that you have the option for immediate care without waiting for the next time you doctor will be available, and without an expensive visit to the emergency room.