Urgent Care Clinics An Affordable Alternative to Hospital Emergency Room Visits
Most people would rather see their primary care physician than visit the hospital emergency room. After normal business hours, however, when someone feels an urgent medical need or issue, they often visit the hospital emergency room. Instead of going to the emergency room, however, they can go to an emergency walk in clinic to be evaluated and treated. When someone does have a life-threatening situation such as a heart attack, for example, it is vital that they go to the hospital emergency room.
When someone visits an urgent care facility, they won’t have to wait as long to see a physician or mid-level provider, such as a physician’s assistant. From 2003 to 2009, for example, the average time it took for someone to be seen in a traditional emergency room went from 46.5 minutes to 58.1 minutes. The average time to see a physician or mid-level provider at a family health clinic, however, is usually 15 minutes or less.
It also costs more for an emergency room visit than one at an urgent care facility. According to the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, the average emergency room visit can cost $1,318.00. The mean cost to receive these services is $615.00. Urgent care clinics cost considerably less than this, and in some cases, there are free walk-in clinics available for STD testing and other types of services.
It’s also important to note that many of these facilities have low cost health clinics available. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for these facilities to also accept family health care plans. Given the current climate with medical insurance, having this option is an obvious benefit. Family health care plans can assist many individuals with being able to have access to affordable care when they need it.
There are, of course, other advantages to visiting an urgent care facility. In addition to being able to conduct blood tests and other types of lab work, they can treat a variety of injuries and illnesses. When individuals and their families choose these centers for their primary medical care, then they are also able to become acquainted with the staff and obtain a primary care physician. This is important for preventative care as well as other issues that may arise.