Urgent care facilities represent one of the fastest growing industries in the American healthcare system today — and for a few good reasons. While it’s always a good idea to have family care physicians who can provide regular treatments and check-ups, it’s also a good idea to know the name and location of your closest community health clinic that offers after-hours care. Here are a few reasons why urgent care facilities are becoming so popular and are so important in the healthcare industry right now:
- As stated above, having a regular family health care physician is important. But very few family care providers offer after-hours services — only an estimated 29% of doctors offer these services, in fact. This results in a huge amount of patients seeking treatment at hospital ERs when they don’t really have medical conditions serious enough to warrant an ER visit. Urgent care facilities are a valuable intermediate option here, providing care for extended hours (or even 24-hour care) and without requiring appointments.
- When you’re choosing between treatment at an emergency room and an urgent care center, the cost of treatment is too substantial to be ignored — especially if you’re at an ER for a condition that could have been treated at a doctor’s office. Hospital ER visits tend to be around $1,500 per visit, while the average urgent care clinic visit costs around $150. Although an urgent care facility might charge more than your regular family health care provider, it’s definitely much cheaper than an emergency room.
- And finally, because so many patients have to seek treatment at hospital ERs once their doctors’ offices close, it comes as no surprise that emergency rooms are becoming very overcrowded. Not only does this have a negative effect on patients who really need immediate medical attention at an ER facility, but for every other patient with non-life-threatening conditions, the waiting time and treatment time can last for hours on end. Urgent care facilities, on the other hand, often have average waiting times of about 15 minutes, and the majority of patients at these clinics spend an hour or less getting treated.
So now we’e asking for your help! If you’ve gone to an urgent care clinic before, what made you choose that treatment facility? What did you like about it? Be sure to share your thoughts with us in the comments section!
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