Urgent care facilities are an incredible resource, but you need to understand how they work and when to go to one instead of an emergency room. When used correctly, finding urgent care near me can save you time and money, getting you the treatment you need quickly so you are on your way.
When it comes down to it, the main difference between urgent care and emergency rooms is the severity of the situation. It can vary by where you live, but emergency rooms tend to be for things that are immediately life threatening while urgent care facilities are for less life-threatening issues. In many cases, urgent care facilities are also not open 24/7, but emergency rooms always will be.
With that in mind, it is time to explore some of the reasons to visit an urgent care facility.
No Appointment Needed
One of the most convenient things about urgent care near me is that you do not need to make an appointment to see the doctors there. Instead of requiring appointments, urgent care centers use walk-ins, meaning that you can head over as soon as you feel poorly, without any need to call ahead and make an appointment. This is a sharp contrast to visiting your regular physician since most doctors operate on a strict appointment schedule and will only take walk-ins in very extreme situations. In some cases, you will have to wait weeks, if not months, for an appointment with your general physician.
Lower Wait Times
Despite taking walk-ins, the wait times at urgent care facilities tend to be much less extreme than those in emergency rooms. In fact, the Urgent Care Association of America estimates that the wait time is 15 minutes or less in over 80% of the cases at urgent care facilities. That is a sharp contrast to the wait times in emergency rooms, which can be hours on end, especially in the case of less-severe issues that pose no immediate life-threatening danger.
Those who decide to look for urgent care near me will also typically notice cost savings over other options. While hospitals and emergency rooms are known for their extremely high prices and bills with a long list of itemizations, urgent care tends to be much more affordable. Going to urgent care will not send you down the path of bankruptcy, but this could easily happen in the emergency room depending on your insurance and emergency. To make the savings associated with urgent care facilities even more convenient, you will typically only get a single bill from urgent care. In other words, you will have no surprise expenses at a later date like you would with the hospital.
Typically Accept Insurance
In addition to the fact that urgent care clinics tend to be much more affordable than visiting an emergency room, they also are typically covered by insurance. The majority of health insurance plans will be accepted at an urgent care facility, just like it would with an emergency room. Just remember to confirm that you are being treated by an in-network provider if this is a concern for you. Assuming this is the case, the co-pays and out-of-pocket fees associated with covered care at an urgent care facility will be much lower than at an emergency room.
Even with all of the other benefits of urgent care facilities, there is no sacrifice in terms of the quality of care. Urgent care centers pride themselves on providing high-quality care to every single patient they have. At any given moment, there is a minimum of one full-time medical provider on duty. In other words, you receive the same high standard of care at an urgent care facility as you would at the hospital or your doctor’s office.
Care For A Range Of Situations
Not only are the medical services at an urgent care facility high-quality, but they also span a vast range of situations. These facilities do not typically specialize, so they can help you regardless of your situation. It can be a quick checkup, performing STI testing, or even caring for fractures. The specific services offered by an urgent care facility will vary, but most care for fractures and other similar issues.
Expect all urgent care centers to also take care of things like the flu, colds, falls, sprains, allergic reactions, asthma, cuts, bug and animal bites, burns, pink eye, ear infections, sinus infections and pressure, strep throat, and bronchitis. They also tend to offer preventative care such as physicals, vaccinations, drug screenings, and gynecological exams. Most also offer lab services, although once again, this will vary.
To round out the reasons to visit an urgent care facility, consider that these facilities are highly accessible. Since there is no need for an appointment, you can go whenever you need to. This means that you can make use of urgent care on a regular day or even if you are on vacation. Most urgent care centers are also in very convenient locations, such as downtown or suburban areas. This means that most people will have an urgent care facility that they can get to in a timely manner from their location. Of course, urgent care facilities are also accessible in terms of cost since they are more affordable than an ER visit and insurance will likely cover most of your visit.
When To Visit Urgent Care
Since there are so many reasons to visit urgent care near me, the only thing left is to understand when you should go. Consider going to urgent care if you have a rash, cuts requiring stitches, tooth pain, a strain or sprain, lower back pain, a sore throat, pink eye, a bite, the flu or cold, or something similar. Skip the urgent care center and go straight to the emergency room for serious, emergency situations, such as allergic reactions, head injuries, serious burns, trouble breathing, symptoms of a heart attack, potential drug overdoses, poisoning, and high fevers. Find an urgent care facility by you for the pressing problems that are not immediately life-threatening or considered emergencies.