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Urgent care clinics are becoming more popular, which is good news for families all across the country in need of fast treatment. But even though they’re now more prevalent, there’s also more misinformation floating around about these medical facilities. If you believe any of the following myths, you might not be taking full advantage of the benefits urgent care centers can provide.

MYTH: Every urgent care facility is the same.
Truth: Actually, there’s a lot of variation within the urgent care sector. The market is highly fragmented, with most operators owning fewer than three facilities. Some are operated by hospitals or university medical centers, while others are operated totally independently. They often have different hours of operation or varying levels of special services they offer. Some work in conjunction with hospitals or actually function as standalone emergency rooms. That’s why it’s so important to do your research and find out whether the urgent care locations closest to you operate within your insurance network. If you make the assumption that every walk-in clinic is the same as the next, you could be stuck with a higher bill than necessary.

MYTH: Urgent care can’t provide the services I need.
Truth: Unless you are dealing with a life-or-death emergency, it’s likely that an urgent care center close to you can provide the treatment you require. There are countless reasons to go to urgent care, from headaches and the flu to getting a sports physical or an STD test. Best of all, the staff at these clinics are extremely qualified — meaning you’ll get the same caliber of care when you visit these facilities as you would when you see your regular physician.

MYTH: Urgent care is for after-hours medical care only.
Truth: One of the reasons to go to urgent care is that these facilities are open when doctors’ offices are not. In many cases, you can even seek out urgent care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But that doesn’t mean you have to go to urgent care only when there are no other options available. Because you can simply walk in on short notice and secure an appointment, it’s a great alternative to waiting around for your physician to have an opening. You can go to an urgent care clinic at virtually any time of day, on a weekend, or even late at night (in many cases).

There are so many good reasons to go to urgent care: the waits are short, the treatment is high-quality, the locations are convenient, and the costs are typically low. Understanding the difference between fact and fiction can help you make better decisions about where to go for medical treatment in the future