Illness and injury don’t always occur on a nine to five schedule. In fact, people often get hurt or sick at night or on the weekends. When that happens, you can go to the emergency room, but that can be expensive and also cause you to wait for hours for care. A good alternative is to go to an urgent care center or quick clinic. Most urgent care centers have hours that are more extensive than doctor’s offices, and 85% of them are open seven days a week. That makes them a great option for after-hours medical care.
The urgent care industry has become big business. It’s estimated that around 3 million people in the U.S. go to an urgent care center each week. Many people think of urgent care as the place to go when your kid has a sore throat or earache, but many urgent care centers offer a range of multicare options.
For example, approximately four out of every five urgent care centers offers care for broken bones. This may only include initial splinting of the injury, but that can be a lot cheaper than going to the emergency room, even if you have to go to your regular doctor or a specialist later to get further care. More and more, urgent care centers also are becoming a go-to option for a range of preventative care, from sports physicals to vaccinations to drug and alcohol testing.
There are a number of reasons why urgent care centers continue to grow in numbers. One of those is that with the Affordable Care Act giving millions of people access to health insurance over the past few years, it has led to a demand for care. There are not enough primary physicians in many areas to fulfill the demand for care, which leads people to seek out walk in clinics and other types of urgent care for both acute care and preventative multicare services. Another reason is the crackdown by health insurers on the use of emergency rooms. Many insurers have instituted extra fees for people who use emergency room care, especially for minor ailments that don’t require a hospital admission. This had increased the demand for urgent care services.
If you find yourself or a loved one sick or injured outside normal business hours, urgent care can be a good option. It is convenient and affordable, which is why it has become so popular.