Three Reasons to Keep Urgent Care Centers On Your Radar
Coming down with a nasty cold on a holiday weekend or breaking a finger bone at 3 A.M. may not be the worst situation you’ve been in, but it’s certainly not something you want to experience. But instead of holding off for days to see your normal primary care doctor, and instead of rushing to the hospital emergency room, you may want to consider going to the closest 24 hour urgent care center. Here are three reasons why these clinics may be the best option during a minor emergency:
1. If you have children, urgent care centers are invaluable. The average child catches between six and ten colds a year — and this isn’t including flu bugs, strep throat, or any other viruses. Some colds are treatable with over-the-counter medicine from your local pharmacy, but others get out of hand pretty quickly and need to be treated by a doctor. At six – ten colds per year, this could mean a lot of waiting time in the doctor’s office. Some urgent care centers even have point-of-care prescription dispensing, meaning that you can see a doctor and get your prescription filled all at once.
2. Only about 29% of primary care doctors offer after-hours coverage, and even then, the coverage might be limited in availability or staffing. Many people choose to go to an urgent care center not because they want to replace their primary care doctor, but because they have a condition that needs to be treated by a medical professional but isn’t serious enough to go to the emergency room. A recent study by the CDC showed that nearly half of all adult emergency room patients were only in the ER because their doctor’s office was closed. Urgent care centers are extremely convenient because many offer the option to make appointments in advance or to just walk in and get an appointment right away.
3. Many people are finding that urgent care centers are better options than hospitals for financial reasons. The average emergency room visit costs about $1,500, and only too often, patients discover that their insurance doesn’t cover a procedure only after the procedure has already happened. Urgent care centers, on the other hand, typically cost about $150 per visit. With or without health insurance, it could be easier to pay for a visit at your local 24 hours urgent care center.
Of course, not all urgent care centers offer the same services, so it’s a good idea to do some background research and find out which services your clinic can offer. Urgent care centers are quickly becoming the most effective and reliable sources for immediate medical attention, and there are so many reasons, beyond the three listed above, to be familiar with your local walk in medical clinics.
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