The first big snow storm of the year cancelled schools throughout the city so the house is full of overnight guests. The group of boys woke up determined to go sledding. It was near white out conditions, 31 degrees outside, with 20 mile an hour winds. On top of that it had barely snowed three inches so far. Although you tried to discourage them, the three youngest boys were determined to be the first down the hill. Unfortunately, they were also the first back from the hill as well. One of the boys hit a dry patch on the sledding hill, was thrown off his sled, and landed on his right arm. It appears to be broken.
What Is Urgent Care?
If you need immediate care, whether it be an x-ray or a strep throat test, a medical urgent care visit is a good solution. In fact, urgent care offices can treat nearly any kind of medical situation. They are so popular that more than 20% of the urgent care settings in America see at least 450 patients a week. Sometimes associated with a group of doctors at a local hospital or family clinic, these offices are easy to access and provide excellent care. Conveniently located in a variety of easy to reach areas, the park by the door option is a real asset. Rather than needing to park in a crowded pediatrician’s office parking lot, urgent care patients often arrive and park fewer than 100 feet from the front desk. A definite advantage if the patient is a young child being brought in by nervous parents.
What Is Urgent Care Pricing Like?
One of the major advantages of an urgent care setting is its affordability. Because of a lower overhead and efficient staffing structure, urgent care clinic visits are far less expensive than emergency room visits. While visits to an emergency room can be expensive and unpredictable, urgent care pricing structures are affordable. Often posted on a web site for the clinic, these locations avoid hidden charges and can tell you up front what basic tests will cost. A sample pricing list from a quick care clinic in the midwest shows how affordable this care can be:
- $50 for Daycare Provider Physical
- $30 for Pregnancy Urine Test
- $45 for Sports and Camp Physicals
- $89 for Bronchitis visit
- $89 for Ear Infection visit
- $30 for Tuberculosis test
In addition to being transparent and affordable in their pricing structure, many urgent care clinics will also accept insurance cards. In fact, many insurance plans provide excellent coverage for this type of visit.
What Is Urgent Care Staffing Like?
Staffed with both doctors and nurses, many urgent care settings provide quicker access to a doctor, not a medical assistant or physician’s assistant. Nearly 80% of urgent care settings provide fracture care and more than 70% provide intravenous fluids when needed. With a complete staff of physicians and nurses, urgent care settings provide a greater variety of specialists than most patients would ever see if they visited their family physician or pediatrician office.
If you are in doubt about the staff that is on duty, a simple phone call to an urgent care office can let you know who is on staff at any given time. It is likely that you will find orthopedic doctors as well as family physicians and a full staff of nurses.
What Is Urgent Care Scheduling Like?
According to a Urgent Care Association of America survey, 57% of patients wait 15 minutes or less to be seen by a doctor. Additionally, nearly 80% of all patient visits are less than an hour in length. These statistics indicate that patient time is valued at urgent care clinics. Unlike a family doctor’s office where it can be nearly impossible to get an appointment the same day you call, an urgent care setting is structured to accept walk in visits. Unlike a hospital emergency room where triage practices dictate that the most serious medical situations take priority over more minor conditions, urgent care settings are designed so doctors can see every patient in a timely and efficient manner.
The next time you, or even the friend who is over sledding, needs to seek medical attention, it makes sense to visit an urgent care setting.