Can You Benefit from Going to an Urgent Care Center Instead of the ER?


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Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last five years, you undoubtedly realize that the United States is in the middle of a healthcare crisis, even following the panacea that the Affordable Care Act was supposed to be. As Forbes points out, between healthcare disparity between minority and majority groups, corruption in hospitals, and the rising costs of medicine and care, Americans are losing trillions a year on healthcare.

Needless to say, we need whatever help we can find to combat this crisis. For many in the industry, from family doctors to those specializing in occupational medicine, urgent care centers represent a bright light in the darkness.

The Rise of the Urgent Care Center
Since 2008, urgent care centers, commonly referred to as walk-in clinics, have seen a huge spike in popularity. In the last five years, urgent care centers in the United States have grown from 8,000 walkin medical clinics to almost 2,500. The growth of urgent care facilities echoes the need for Americans to find more reliable, cheaper healthcare professionals. Subsequently, walk in clinics are only expected to increase in prevalence for the foreseeable future.

What Are the Benefits of Using an Urgent Care Center?

  1. Individual Savings
  2. The biggest reason behind the rise of urgent care centers, perhaps, is the cost. As points out, the same procedures carried out at an urgent care center are often many times more expensive in an ER. For example, being treated for a panic attack costs around $400 at an urgent care facility. At a hospital, the same treatment runs around $2,000.

  3. Relieve Some of the Burden on Emergency Departments
  4. Using an urgent care facility means relieving part of the burden from America’s overworked emergency departments. Too many people feel like they have to go to the ED when they have serious by not life-threatening injuries. By going to a walk-in clinic, you can get the same level of care without gumming up the works at a hospital. Subsequently, according to the American Hospital Association, 28% of all urgent care facilities are actually owned by hospitals looking to reduce their strain.

  5. Short or Non-existent Wait Times
  6. 2013 was the year of newspaper headlines and 24-hour news station stories filled with insane ER wait times. Some people were having to wait for six to eight hours before they were seen. Urgent care centers offer x-rays, physicals, and many other essential services without the wait, hence the “walk-in clinic” nickname.

    While this healthcare crisis continues to be sorted out, people need a way to get the care they need without breaking the bank or further burdening the mainstream healthcare system. By using an urgent care center, you can accomplish all of these goals.
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