In the event of a medical problem, such as an illness or injury, it may seem natural to seek emergency room care or visit your local doctors office. However, did you know that many Managed Care Operations encourage patients to visit urgent care centers to treat non-life-threatening medical conditions? Due to the overcrowding present at many hospitals and physicians offices, urgent care facilities are often a fast and convenient way to access treatment for non-critical problems that require immediate attention. But how can an urgent care clinic help you?
Urgent care centers are a growing presence in the American healthcare industry, designed to provide medical care for a variety of common issues. Many of these walk in clinics are free standing buildings, while others are found in medical plazas or retail centers. Currently, the Urgent Care Association of America reports that 55% of urgent care clinics have been in business for 5 years or longer, and an estimated 9,000 facilities are interested in opening another branch or expanding their services. As these centers become more and more common, it is easier than ever for patients to access urgent care services when a doctor’s office or local hospital is closed or overwhelmed with patients.
The average urgent care facility offers a variety of benefits to its patients: they typically treat a number of ailments, including workplace-related injuries like back pain, sprains, and musculoskeletal issues, and common illnesses. For example, in 2012, the most common diagnosis given at urgent care centers was an upper respiratory infection. However, many urgent care facilities are now providing a variety of other services, such as blood work and even physical therapy exercises. But to many people, the best quality urgent care centers offer is their convenience and affordability: an estimated 85% of urgent care clinics in the U.S. are open 7 days a week, and typically charge a co-pay that is thousands of dollars cheaper than a visit to an emergency room.
Whether you need a prescription for an upper respiratory infection or physical therapy exercises to help heal from an injury, your local urgent care center likely offers the services you need to treat your medical condition. For life-threatening problems, it is still strongly recommended that you immediately visit an emergency room. But for everything else, seek care at an urgent care center. Ger more information on this topic here.