A quick search in Google News for “urgent care” will net you an ostensibly endless string of stories about hospitals who are either closing their doors or making huge investments into advanced urgent care centers across the country. From a handful of locations 10 years ago to over 9,000 urgent care clinics today, urgent care facilities are the fastest growing type of medical centers in the country. Why are urgent care services growing at a geometric rate while traditional hospitals struggle to compete? Read on to find out.
Three Reasons Urgent Care Centers Are Spreading Like Wildfire
- Urgent Care Hours Are Plastic
- Urgent Care Clinics Offer Reduced Wait Times
- Costs versus ERs
As The Times-Picayune writes, Americans want more convenient healthcare services. One of the biggest problems that has emerged over the last few years is over-specialization. Every doctor specializes in some type of unique medicine, leaving those few who go into primary care overbooked. That, in turn, leads to doctors who can’t see their patients at a moment’s notice. Urgent care hours are far more plastic than their traditional counterparts, often covering late evenings and holidays, so when you need help, someone will be there.
We’ve all been there: you head to your local emergency room, only to be told that your problem isn’t the priority. In the end, you wind up waiting for five hours just to see a nurse. As the Urgent Care Association of America shows, urgent care centers typically offer wait times less than an hour, with 60% offering wait times less than 20 minutes. Why wait to have your non-life threatening issue taken care of?
Even if it can be honestly said that we are out of the Great Recession begun in 2008, many Americans are still hard-pressed to find expendable income, whether it’s for groceries or healthcare. As statistics from Debt.org show, the vastly reduced costs of urgent care services are one of the main reasons they’re out-competing hospitals. Consider, the average ER visit ends in a $933 bill — that’s with insurance! An average trip to your local urgent care center, on the other hand, yields a bill between $71 and $125.
Have you benefited from expanded urgent care hours or their reduced service costs? Share your experiences with us in the comments below! Continue reading here.