4 Reasons to Choose Urgent Care Over Emergency Room

Urgent care seattle

Almost always, you do not have a luxury of planning for urgent medical needs around your convenience. If your injury or illness requires you to see a doctor within 24 hours, it’s not a situation that you have the option of choosing to address when you’re not working, when your doctor is open, or when they can fit you in.

Your child is exhibiting flu symptoms and spiked a really high fever that isn’t responding to medication. Your husband had a home-improvement accident and needs stitches. You twisted your ankle while playing volleyball, and you think it may be broken. These circumstances won’t just wait until Monday when your doctor can see you. You can seek emergency room care, but that is a huge drag!

Visiting the emergency room likely involves sitting in an uncomfortable chair for hours upon hours, being exposed to all of the serious and contagious illnesses that other patients are waiting to be seen for, and paying a hefty price for the ordeal. Thankfully, if your injury is not an emergency but does require immediate medical care, you are the ideal candidate for walk in urgent care clinics.

Walk in urgent care clinics are designed for medical needs that should be treated immediately, but are not life-threatening. Most walking clinics (85% to be exact) are open seven days a week, during morning and extended evening hours. If you aren’t convinced, here are four reasons to choose a walk in clinic over in emergency room include:

  1. Walk in urgent care clinic can do more than your doctor can do.
    Many times, you find yourself at the emergency room because your injury or illness goes beyond the scope of what your family care physician provides. You need x-rays and fracture care services. You need urgent lab work and antibiotics on a Saturday evening. You are suffering from dehydration and need intravenous fluids. These are all services that most urgent care physicians can administer. Remember, a walk in urgent care clinic is specifically designed to fill the void between the services a primary doctor provides, and emergency needs that are treated in the emergency room.
  2. Your urgent care visit will cost you less than your emergency room visit.
    The average visit to an emergency room costs $1,233. The average visit to a walk in urgent care clinic is $50 to $150. To make matters worse, many insurance providers will not cover your visit to the emergency room if your medical need was not an emergency, leaving you to foot the entire bill yourself.

    On the other hand, your insurance provider may treat your visit to a walk in urgent care clinic the same as a visit to your primary care physician, and charge your co-pay accordingly.
    Your insurance provider’s policy on urgent care visits is something that you should verify before making a decision, if cost is your greatest consideration.
  3. You can save yourself a lot of blood, sweat, and tears by visiting the urgent care.
    Emergency rooms– as they should– prioritize the order they see patients by who has the greatest need rather than who arrived first. In other words, if you visit an emergency room for a broken femur (which is the most painful injury that a human can sustain), regardless of how terrible your injury is, you are going to be waiting in agony while a heart attack patient and a gunshot patient passes by you. On the other hand, your visit to an urgent care typically requires a wait time of less than 30 minutes.
  4. Reserving the emergency room for medical emergencies saves lives.
    Let’s say you do you go to the emergency room for your broken femur. You do your time and eventually get seen by a doctor. While the doctor is treating you, they are not available to save the life of the patient who comes in with a life-threatening injury. By using urgent care for non-emergency injuries, you are helping to ensure that all of the medical staff and resources in the emergency room are reserved for saving lives.

Do you have anything to add to our list of reasons to visit an urgent care of an emergency room? Please contribute your input in the comment section.

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