Think twice about going directly to the emergency room when you need medical care. After Hours Urgent Care facilities can often provide the same care with faster service and smaller bills. Here are a few reasons why you should consider visiting an urgent care facility for minor injuries and illnesses:
Shorter Wait Time
Patients with emergencies that are not life threatening will typically experience shorter wait times at an urgent care facility. In the emergency room, patients are seen on a need basis, which means whoever has the worst injury will be seen first. In an after hours urgent care, patients are seen in the order they arrive.
Illnesses and injuries are exactly what urgent care facilities are designed to treat. A typical urgent care facility is equipped to perform X-rays, fill prescriptions and conduct basic lab work.
In general, visit urgent care for sprains and strains, minor broken bones, rashes, minor cuts, urinary tract infection, sore throats or minor burns. You should go to the emergency room if you feel your life or a limb is in danger. If you are unsure of whether you should go to the emergency room or urgent care, call the urgent care facility and ask. They will give you an honest assessment, and tell you whether they are equipped to handle your injury.
The emergency room facility is designed to handle a huge myriad of medical conditions. Patients are charged for access to emergency room equipment. In order to pay for the equipment in the emergency room, emergency room fees are much higher than visits to an urgent care facility.
For example, a report from the Medica Choice Network shows that the average charges for a urinary tract infection at the emergency room to be $665. The same group reports that the average cost for a urinary tract infection at urgent care to be $110. As a general rule, urgent care visits are one-third to one-half the cost of an emergency room visit.
Many people do not have health coverage. Oftentimes, urgent care facilities will tell patients exactly how much each service will cost before it is performed. Emergency room staff has a harder time making these assessments.
Continuation of Care
Many urgent care facilities also offer primary care services. This means that the office functions both as a regular doctor’s office and as an after-hours care facility. The advantage of visiting an urgent care with primary care service is that you can receive your follow up care from the same doctor that managed your urgent care visit. This factor may save you extra visits to the doctor’s office, and makes getting follow up care simple and easy.
Urgent care is limited in the services they can provide. For example, an urgent care facility typically cannot perform a 3-D electrocardiogram readout. Because of these limitations, they typically require less paperwork from their patients. If the urgent care doctor determines that the patient needs to be seen by a specialist, the patient will be referred either to the specialist or to the emergency room for immediate care.
In general, people who need emergency treatment for non-life-threatening injuries will save time and money by going to an urgent care facility.