If you’ve ever had to go to the emergency room in the middle of the night, you know it’s not a fun time. There are so many things about the emergency room that make it an unpleasant experience. If you aren’t experiencing a life or death situation then you might want to consider other options for seeing a medical professional. A lot of people don’t even know that there are other options for medical care other than the emergency room. Let me give you a few choices so that you can get an idea of the opportunity that is out there for you.
Urgent Care Express
Most urgent care facilities are open pretty late, not closing until somewhere 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM. Urgent care express centers will take walk ins but some will also offer an option to make an appointment. It’s more like a call ahead system where you call and put your name on the list and they will tell what time you can expect to be seen so you can come in just prior to that. It’s very convenient. You would be surprised at all of the things that urgent care express centers will accept. They will diagnose and treat almost any condition as long as it is not life threatening. If it is a case of life and death, they will have an ambulance take you to the emergency room. Other than that urgent cares can even help with physical therapy and things like that.
This might sound obvious but a lot of people only see their doctors when they have their regular check ups. If you are having worrisome symptoms, you can call your primary care physician and make an appointment to be seen. If you feel that your condition should be seen soon, then you can let the receptionist know what your symptoms are and either they will have a triage nurse call you back to assess the situation or they may just prioritize your visit to as soon as possible. If you own primary care physician does not have any appointments available in the near future than you can probably see another doctor in that office or you can even find somewhere else that will take your insurance.
These free clinics are usually staffed by volunteers and people just trying to serve the community. Even the nurses and doctors are volunteering their free time when they work at these clinics. Many of them will take a couple of their days off every month to volunteer. There’s not always a doctor there but they will usually have access to get a hold of one if necessary. Provided that they are able to treat your condition, a free clinic is just that- free. It is for people who do not have insurance or need to stay anonymous for whatever reason. Crisis pregnancy centers are an example of a free clinic.
Sliding Scale Medical Centers
These kinds of clinics charge on a sliding scale so it depends on your income if you do not have insurance or if your insurance does not cover your procedure or whatever you need to have done. If the entire visit it not covered then the same principal applies. They will also usually allow you to work out a payment plan after the final amount owed is determined. The whole point of a sliding scale payment system is to ensure that everyone is able to obtain medical help when needed.
There are several different options as you can see, when you need to seek professional medical help. However, keep in mind that urgent care express center, free clinics and your doctor’s office will not be able to immediately treat a life or death situation. You will always be taken to the emergency room so if you are in doubt about whether your not your situation is life threatening, then you are best off going to the emergency room right away. However, if you know that your situation is definitely not life or death but you still need help, you will wait much less time and pay far fewer pennies if you avoid the emergency room and pick from these other options.
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