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What Everyone Should Know About Urgent Care Clinics

July 28, 2016
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With more than 6,800 urgent care clinics throughout the United States, it’s no surprise that about three million people visit these medical centers each week. While some people still do not understand the benefits of visiting an urgent care facility over an emergency room, others are already taking advantage of shorter wait times and lower medical bills.

To help you choose the best type of care for your needs, here are some facts about urgent care everyone should know.

  • According to a survey conducted by the Urgent Care Association of America, 80% of urgent care visits are completed within an hour or less.
  • Of all the primary care physicians in the U.S., just 29% are available to patients after hours.
  • Each year, about 110 million Americans visit an emergency room.
  • While the usual emergency room visit can cost an average of $1,500, urgent care clinic visits are typically $150 or less. Even for the exact same services!
  • The urgent care phenomenon first began right here in the U.S. back in the 1970s, but has grown exponentially worldwide ever since.
  • Just under two-thirds of urgent care clinics have physicians, nurse practitioners and/or physician assistants on staff.

The Top Three Reasons To Choose Urgent Care Over the ER

  • Shorter Wait Times: Since the average visit takes less than an hour, visiting a walk in clinic may be your best solution when dealing with minor injuries. As a result, more patients can be seen and their issues resolved sooner.
  • Smaller Fees: Chances are, you won’t be paying as much for urgent care services as you would at an emergency room. Typically, medical centers that are not hospitals tend to have lower copays. They are often the same price, if not less, as the price one would pay for a visit to a primary care doctor.
  • Greater Accessibility: With centers opening all over the country and 10% located in rural areas, you may find that urgent care is more convenient, in addition to saving you money. Not only that, because more people are visiting walk in clinics instead of the ER, urgent care centers have actually done more to reduce long lines in emergency rooms than any healthcare policy.Now that you have some insight as to what urgent care clinics can offer, you are more likely to make an informed decision the next time you or someone you love needs medical help. A good rule of thumb to consider is asking yourself if the injury or condition is life threatening. If not, choose urgent care and save yourself the time, money and painful frustration that comes from a long day spent inside your local emergency room’s waiting room.
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