In the United States, the first urgent care facility was opened in the 1970s by emergency medicine physicians. Since then, these facilities have expanded to the extent that in 2015, medical data shows that every urgent care center in the U.S, received an average of 12000 patients. This translates to 32 patients per day and three calls every hour.
Urgent care focuses on medical situations that are not life-threatening but still require attention within 24 hours. Here’s what you could gain by visiting an urgent care center for your minor medical needs.
Benefits of urgent care centers
Urgent care provides a convenient, quality, and cost effective ER alternative. According to the Urgent Care Association of the United States, the price variance (for a similar diagnosis) between an emergency room and urgent care is high. It is estimated to be between $228 and $583. For instance, urgent care centers have cheap onsite laboratory services such as X-Ray and EKG.
Most insurance companies are promoting visits to urgent care by putting up a cheaper co-pays system for the UCCs. While the patient’s waiting time reduces, the insurer enjoys lowered costs.
Many urgent care centers operate on a 24-hour basis. And for the 30% that do not work under such a schedule, they always have an extended timing. They open by 8 a.m. and close at late hours. They also operate during holidays and weekends when doctor’s offices are usually closed.
You do not need an appointment to get urgent care services, thus making the facilities a viable option for a convenient, quality, and cost effective ER alternative.
Additionally, since the centers deal with minor medical concerns, a physician will see you more quickly compared to an emergency room where serious illnesses may need the attention of a specialist.
Out of the 9300 urgent care centers, 75% of the UCCs are situated in suburban areas. Therefore, you do not need to move to the city to find urgent care services. Due to their accessibility, they appeal to low-income persons who do not have access to private medics.
There are even centers with technology-based services where you can talk to a doctor virtually. You will not wait for long hours for your doctor to fix you in his/her busy schedule.
According to the Urgent Care Association of America, 94% of urgent care centers have employed a full-time medical doctor. So you can be sure of quality healthcare that is efficient, effective and easy for you. Furthermore, the United States Board of Urgent Care ensures that the centers are board-certified with well-trained physicians.
Urgent care centers primarily aim at providing the right care to prevent a medical situation from escalating. They also happen to be a convenient, quality, and cost effective ER alternative. They fill the gap when a patient is unable to get a timely appointment with their doctor. If you’re just in need of a check-up or a simple treatment, you better go to an urgent care center.