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If Your Medical Issue is Urgent but not Emergent, Consider and Urgent Care Center

Walk in health clinic

Urgent care facilities have grown tremendously over the past few years for a couple of different reasons. One is that more and more insurers have instituted policies — such as surcharges — to discourage people from visiting the emergency room. Another is the advent of the Affordable Care Act, which gave millions more people access to health insurance, which has created demand for health services. Both of these developments have helped boost the number of family quick care places around the U.S.

Surveys have shown that the average visitor to an emergency room pays more than $600 per visit. That is very high when compared with an average cost of around $100 per visit to an emergency walk in clinic. That is one of the reasons that urgent care is preferred over an ER visit by both patients and insurers. Another reason is that wait times in an ER can be astronomical, especially for someone who is there with an illness or injury that is not serious. Between 2003 and 2009, a study showed that ER wait times grew from around 45 minutes to nearly an hour on average. Wait times are not nearly as long at a medical walk in clinic.

Data shows that the U.S. needs an additional 52,000 primary care physicians by 2025 to meet the healthcare needs of the population. That is something that is unlikely to happen, which is why urgent care is filling such a vital role. People don’t just visit an urgent care center when they are feeling sick after regular business hours. Many people use walk in health clinics for routine things such as flu shots and sports physicals for their kids. In fact, acting as a health clinic for children for a variety of services is one of the main functions of urgent care centers these days.

Whether you need to use an urgent care center because of an illness or injury that occurs after normal business hours or you need the services of a health clinic for children, there are a number of advantages. Urgent care centers are cheaper than a hospital ER and have much more convenient hours than a doctors office. They also can provide you routine health services faster and more efficiently than either of those places.

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