It is 8:00 pm on a Tuesday and your child has a cough that will not quit, what should you do? Or, it is 3:00 pm on a Saturday and you twisted your ankle on the tennis court, should you go to the emergency room? In both of these instances, the chances are very slim that your doctor’s office is open. It has been estimated, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that nearly half of all people who go to hospital emergency room are not sick enough or hurt badly enough to warrant being admitted to the hospital and were only in the emergency department because their primary care doctor’s office was closed. Luckily, there are other options such as a memorial urgent care center.
There are many benefits to having urgent care services in your community. They provide valuable health care services when people need them the most. Here are some ways this kind of care helps everyone.
- They relieve some of the overcrowding in emergency rooms. There are very valid reasons that some people need to be seen in a hospital emergency room but there are also a number of conditions that can be treated at urgent care clinics instead. Overcrowding is a big problem for hospital emergency rooms around the country. As a consequence, the wait time can be hours for care in an emergency department. According to the Urgent Care Association of America, nearly 60% of all people who go to a memorial urgent care center are seen within about 15 minutes of their arrival and the average in and out time is less than an hour. This makes this a much more convenient way to get medical care after hours and on the weekend. By going to these clinics rather than the emergency room, the doctors the hospital setting can focus more of their energy on people who have true medical emergencies. This makes it possible for everyone to get better care.
- Urgent care facilities can offer care when a primary care doctor is not available. Most primary care and family doctors do not have weekend or night hours making is hard to get in to see them. At least 66% of all urgent care facilities report being open before 9:00 am on weekdays. More than 90% are open later than 7:00 pm during the weeks and many stay open until after 9:00 pm. A number of these clinics are also open on the weekend. Nearly 46% say that they are open on Saturdays and more than 31% are also open on Sunday. This makes getting routine care possible for many people whose schedules prevent them from going to the doctor during the week.
- It is much cheaper to go to an urgent care center. It is no secret that the most expensive health care around is in the hospital emergency room. This is not the case when you visit a memorial urgent care center. It will always be cheaper to get treatment at a walk in clinic over the emergency room. Many insurance carriers recognize this and offer much lower copayments for care received in an urgent care facility. Check with your insurance carrier to see what their policy is.
- Urgent care centers treat more than you may think. One of the most common injuries that Americans suffer is a sprained ankle. This is very treatable by most urgent care centers. Nearly four our of five urgent care clinics can provide fracture care. If you have become dehydrated, many of these clinics can help with intravenous fluids. At least 70% of urgent care clinics can give that. If you show up at an urgent care center, the medical staff will talk to you and they will send you to the emergency room if they feel they cannot help you. A memorial urgent care clinic can also often help with travel medical needs. If you need a Yellow Fever shot, many of these facilities can help.
If you or someone you love becomes ill or injured when your doctor’s office is closed, an urgent care center might be the best place to be seen.
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