Taking some one the the emergency room, while important, can be a dreaded chore. The wait time is just so unpredictable. The reason for this is that if someone comes in with a life threatening situation then they will take priority over anyone already in the waiting room not facing a life or death situation. This means that depending on how many life or death situations happen during your wait, you could be there for a very long time. So, how would you like the ER care without the wait? Sounds like a miracle, doesn’t it? Well, it’s true. If you have minor burns or back pain or the kids have low grade fevers or sore throats, then you can take them to an urgent care clinic and you will get the same kind of care without having to wait an entire lifetime.
Quality of ER care without the wait
ER care without the wait means that you are receiving the same quality of care that you would at a hospital without having to wait several hours for it. Urgent care clinics try to keep their wait time down to about 15 or 20 minutes at the most. Some clinics will even offer call ahead service where you can phone in to let them know that you were on your way and they will give you an estimated wait time. The only requirement is that you arrive five minutes early to fill out any paperwork that is necessary.
Access to doctors
Most urgent care clinics are actually owned by one or more physicians. This means that doctors have a special, vested interest in making sure that urgent cares function properly. Because of this, there is always at least one doctor on site at an urgent care facility. It ensures that should someone need a diagnosis or more help than a nurse can give, a doctor is within the vicinity. Also, sometimes people will misunderstand and still come into an urgent care with a life or death situation and a doctor needs to be on hand to determine that the patient needs to be transported to a hospital.
Variety of treatment
Urgent cares do not except life-threatening emergencies but any other kind of situation can be treated at one of these clinics. They have all the same vaccinations, medication, prescription writing ability, x-ray machines and more to make sure that you were given the correct diagnosis. In fact, getting a diagnosis at an urgent care maybe more accurate than at the ER. The reason for this is that the emergency room atmosphere is a very high stress environment and for conditions that are not life or death, doctors can tend to make the mistake of snap decisions because they are in a hurry and end up giving out in accurate diagnosis. At an urgent care, the atmosphere is much more laid-back and the medical professionals can take their time determining what the issue is.
Emergency room visits can get really expensive. Every added test is another couple of hundred dollars, at least. At an urgent care you will pay about a third of the cost that you would at an emergency room. Also, because the situations are not life and death, urgent care clinics can do one test at a time and wait for results until they find what’s wrong. Emergency rooms usually run a bunch of tests at the same time to get results back faster. This means that even if one of the earlier tests would have seen the problem, you will still have to pay for all the tests that were performed. An urgent care clinic is a lot more open to discussing payment plans and options then an emergency room would be. Even if you have insurance, your co-pay is likely to be less at an urgent care than an emergency room.
If you have never experienced the ER care without the wait element of an urgent care clinic, keep it in mind the next time you or one of your family members needs to be seen. Urgent care will most likely be able to save you money as well as time.