The best place to seek out care is always your primary care physician. The problem is that they are not always open when you have something come up like a sprained ankle or a bad cough. When you fall on the tennis court on Saturday morning, you cannot head over to your primary care doctor’s office for the to look at your ankle. You probably do not want to have to go the emergency room. The good news is that you are probably not far from a medical urgent care center. Medical urgent care centers are in all 50 states and most have hours both at night and on the weekend. What are the benefits of going to anafter hours urgent care?
1. They are convenient. Medical urgent care clinics were developed by emergency rooms to fill the need for walk in medical care. Many allow you to reserve your space in line from your phone or from a computer. You can also just walk in and be seen. When you go online, you can save yourself a little time by seeing how long your wait will be and by setting up a time to walk in.
2. You will not have to wait very long. When you go to the hospital emergency room, you know you are in for a long wait. Not only are you in the position to wait your turn, medical professionals have to see people whose medical needs are more serious than yours. If a gunshot victim comes in after you, they will absolutely be seen before you. When you go to a medical urgent care center, the chances are good that you will be seen by a medical professional within 15 minutes, 57% of people report this. You will also be in and out within an hour. This is according to the Urgent Care Association of America (UCAA).
3. They have great hours. The urgent care hours are often on the weekend and before 9:00 am and after 6:00 pm. At least 66% say they do open up before 9:00 am so people can get there before work. Another 45.7% open up on Saturday and more than 31% say they are open for part of the day on Sunday. All of this means that working professionals can get the health care they need when they need it.
4. They are cheaper than emergency rooms. The care you receive in hospital emergency rooms is first rate but it is also the most expensive in the medical world. All of the tests are ordered to be completed as soon as possible and that adds to the expense. By contrast, you can get a lot of the same tests done at a medical urgent care clinic and it costs a lot less. For this reason, many insurance carriers have started to embrace urgent care centers over emergency rooms. The copayment they require their members pay is much lower for urgent care centers
5. They offer a lot of services. Urgent care centers can provide a number of diagnostic tests such as those requiring blood to be drawn and x-rays. At least 80% of all urgent care centers around the country can offer fracture care. While this is not a diagnostic test, you can get intravenous fluids if they are needed at at least 70% of the medical urgent care centers around the country. Common problems treated in these clinics:
- Sprains and strains
- Mild to moderate back problems
- Persistant cough
- The flu
- Persistant vomiting and diarrhea, dehydration
6. They provide travel medicine services. Many walk in clinics around the country offer prophylactic treatments for things ranging from malaria to Yellow Fever. You should check with the clinic to make sure they have the services that you need. This is a great thing that is offered by these clinics because the shots that you need to go to parts of the world are often not offered by your primary care physician’s office.
While going to the primary care doctor is the best place to get health care, urgent care centers are there when the doctor’s office is closed.