Late at night or on weekends, individuals who are injured or ill often visit emergency rooms because the doctor’s office is closed and they are unaware that they have another option. However, it is not necessary to spend top dollar at an emergency room for most injuries or illnesses. Patients have a cost-effective option in after hours care centers that can provide treatment for most conditions at a much lower price than emergency rooms.
Can An Urgent Care Center Take Care Of My Emergency Needs?
Many people know that urgent care centers can handle routine appointments when doctors are not available. However, patients may be unaware that they are also able to seek treatment for many injuries and illnesses normally handled by emergency rooms as well as after hours care. Some of the treatments available at urgent care centers include:
• Stitches for cuts from glass or other sharp objects
• Tests for illnesses such as mononucleosis or influenza
• X-rays for broken bones
• Poison control treatment for ingested substances
• Concussions and other head injuries
• Headaches and dizziness
• Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
• Injuries from falls
If an urgent care doctor is not able to treat an emergency situation, he or she will always refer the patient to a hospital. However, in most cases, conditions that are treated in an emergency room for walk-in patients can be treated by urgent care as well.
Why Should I Choose Urgent Care?
There are several reasons that urgent care may be superior to the care offered by emergency rooms. For one thing, urgent care is definitely cheaper than visiting the emergency room. Many insurance companies will not pay for emergency room visits if the insurer does not first approve the visit. This means calling the insurance company before calling an ambulance. Urgent care centers, however, are open at convenient hours and can often take patients as walk-ins without an insurance company’s pre-approval, later billing the company as an office visit. For many patients, this means a much lower cost than the out-of-pocket expenses for an emergency room visit.
Another reason urgent care is often superior to an emergency room is the speed in which a patient can visit and be seen by a doctor. While urgent care may also be crowded, an emergency room must utilize its resources on the serious injuries first, rather than taking patients on a first-come, first-served basis. Because ambulances are not arriving at an urgent care center routinely, urgent care centers are able to schedule their services more closely to the arrival of walk-in patients.
Finally, urgent care centers provide a great way to see a doctor for a routine illness that might not be treated in an emergency room. Due to the scarcity of emergency room resources, many hospitals triage or evaluate patients before treating them in the emergency room. This may mean a wait of hours. An urgent care center, on the other hand, can hand everything from a cut finger to strep throat and can provide patients with prescriptions and other benefits often unavailable from an emergency room.
For the fastest and best care available, patients can utilize the benefits of an urgent care center rather than spending hours in an expensive emergency room.