Urgent Care Centers, Emergency Rooms, Physician’s Offices…Which Is Best?
When it comes to receiving medical attention, it can be difficult to determine which location will best suit your needs. Between the emergency room, physician’s office, urgent care centers, and other locations, how are patients supposed to know which is best? Here’s a quick guide to help you choose the best medical treatment location.
Urgent Care Clinics:
Urgent care clinics have the scope of support to treat a wide variety of illnesses and afflictions. They’re known for their short wait times: According to a survey by The Urgent Care Association of America, 57% of patients wait 15 minutes or less to be seen, and about 80% of all visits are 60 minutes or less. If you have an injury or illness that isn’t severe, an urgent care center may be perfect for you. Plus, they’re much more affordable than other medical treatment options. The typical emergency department visit costs an average of $1,500, while treatment at an urgent care costs, on average, under $150.
Emergency rooms tend to be treated as a one-size-fits all solution, which has both positive and negative implications. An emergency room has the widest scope of medical support, but wait times can be excruciatingly long if your injury isn’t considered severe enough. Consumerreports.org says, “ERs typically treat people in order of severity of their case, not by when they arrive. There were more than 119 million ER visits in the U.S. in 2006, the last year for which there is national data. That’s nearly a one-third increase over 1995. Experts attribute the growth in part to the country’s growing population of older people and nationwide shortages of physicians and nurses.”
Although the hours of availability are much more limited, your primary physician’s office is still a viable treatment option. Only 29% of primary care doctors have after-hours coverage, but if yours is one of them and you can manage to get an appointment, you’re all set. Don’t forget to bring any necessary paperwork such as ID and lists of symptoms, allergies, and current medications, even though your doctor may already have them on file.
Ultimately, it’s important to evaluate your medical needs before deciding on the best treatment option. For more information about urgent care costs, contact AFC/Doctors Express.