Chances are there will come a time when you get sick or injured and can’t get to your doctor’s office. Maybe you can’t get off work during the hours your doctor sees sick patients, or you slice your hand while preparing the evening meal. Either way, you’re left to decide whether you should head to the nearest hospital or an after hours urgent care clinic.
While it may be tempting to drive straight to the emergency room – especially if you’re bleeding – there are clear advantages to visiting an after hours urgent care clinic. Here are some to consider.
1. After hours clinics are cheaper than ERs.
Studies show that after hours care clinics are 50 percent cheaper than a visit to a primary care doctor and 80 percent cheaper than a hospital emergency room. In some cases, the visit may cost less than an insurance co-payment and some insurers treat a visit to an urgent care clinic in the same manner as a visit to a primary care doctor. In those cases, you might not pay anything at all.
2. After hours clinics are faster than ERs.
Emergency rooms see patients based on how serious their condition is, not when they arrive. Therefore, if you’re at the ER for a minor injury like an ankle sprain, you’ll have to take a backseat to people who have been injured in traffic crashes or who have chest pains. That means your wait time could be hours! For the most part, after hours urgent care sees patients on a first-come, first-serve basis so you’ll be seen in the order you arrived.
3. After hours clinics provide a variety of services.
If you need a physical for a job or athletic team, you can receive those services at an urgent care center. Many also provide alcohol or screening tests to meet employers’ human resources requirements.
4. After hours clinics provide workers compensation services.
If you get injured on the job, after hours urgent care can provide not only the treatment but also the documentation you’ll need for the claim.
5. After hours clinics can point you in the right direction.
While after hours clinics can’t diagnose or treat every possible malady, they can help you determine which specialist or surgeon you should see for further care. And they can also refer you to a specialist and complete the necessary paperwork for your insurance company.
After hours urgent care provides a great option if you need care quickly but can’t get an appointment with your primary care doctor. And chances are, you’ll get in and out much quicker – and with more money in your pocket – than going to the ER.