As a patient, you have several options available to you for convenient medical treatment. If you are not facing a true emergency but cannot wait to be seen by your regular physician, urgent care facilities may very well be your best option. But it’s important to note that not all urgent medical care centers are created equal. Some are independently run, while others are affiliated with hospitals or with universities. The quality of care offered may differ as well as the costs and convenience. It’s essential to evaluate an urgent care center prior to visiting so you can benefit fully from this convenient medical treatment option. To that end, we’ll discuss factors you should keep in mind before choosing an urgent care facility.

What Considerations Should You Keep in Mind When Evaluating Urgent Care Clinics?

  • Insurance Coverage: There are likely several urgent care clinics in your area that will accept your insurance plan. But you shouldn’t just assume that a given facility will have an established partnership with your insurance. Certainly, urgent care options are typically more cost-effective. But if a given clinic does not accept your insurance and you don’t find out that information beforehand, you could be stuck with a higher bill than expected. What’s more, you might have been able to avoid this scenario by checking with the clinics near you and choosing the option that has partnered with your insurer. Contact the clinic prior to arriving to ensure you won’t be surprised by costs after the fact.
  • Ability to Make Appointments: Urgent care clinics are well known for their ability to accept patients on a walk-in basis. But during 2015, urgent care centers saw an average of 12,000 patients (which translates to three patients per hour). With the popularity of urgent care centers on the rise, you may want to look for facilities that offer advance appointment options. This will ensure that you can be seen much sooner and at a time that’s convenient for you, rather than having to wait during a busier period. It’s not always necessary to make an appointment, but it can be an attractive feature for many patients.
  • Accessible Locations: Urgent care centers are popping up all over, which makes obtaining convenient medical treatment a reality for many more Americans. That means you’ll probably have several options to choose from. But before you choose the most well-known urgent care center, check to see whether it’s actually the closest to you. Just because someone else you know tends to go there, it doesn’t mean that this center is the most convenient for your needs. There may be another center that’s in closer proximity to your home or your office that can provide the care you need without requiring a longer commute.
  • Services Offered: Most urgent care facilities will provide a wide range of services. But there are some specialties that aren’t found at every single center in your area. X-rays, laboratory services, prescription dispensation, pediatric services, and other options may not be available at all urgent care centers. They may very well be available at select urgent care locations, however. If you require a more specialized service, it’s a good idea to contact the center beforehand to ensure you won’t make a trip in vain.
  • Hours of Operation: Urgent care locations provide convenient medical treatment during periods that might otherwise limit our options. If you require medical care after work or on the weekend, you can likely go to an urgent care center to receive it. However, it’s important to note that not all urgent care centers are open 24 hours a day. Many are open on an extended basis and into the evening, but they may not be open late. It’s essential to check a facility’s hours of operation prior to seeking out care to ensure you’re able to choose a facility right off that can accommodate you when you need treatment.

​Before you head to an urgent care clinic, you’ll want to consider these factors. This can allow you to choose an excellent facility that can provide you with the treatment you need, exactly when you need it. To learn more about our services, please contact us today.