If you have ever been sick, you probably know that emergency room services can take forever. You often end up waiting for hours to be seen by a doctor, especially if there are people with more life threatening illness than you. And contacting your doctor can be difficult, as most of them do not offer after hours urgent care, and they are typically booked out for weeks.
In these cases, urgent care facilities could be your best option. These medical centers have risen in popularity in recent years because of their practicality, and their availability. Most of these centers are open 7 days a week, and they operate beyond normal business hours. Unlike emergency room services, these facilities do not make patients wait more than 20 minutes to be seen by a medical professional 69% of the time, according to the Urgent Care Association of America. No appointment is necessary either, so they are considered walk in clinics.
In addition, you do not have to worry about who an urgent care facility staffs. There are licensed nurses and medical assistants, and every facility has a physician on-site at all times. They can take care of common medical needs such as a flu shot, ear infections, upper respiratory infections, minor lacerations, and most non-life threatening illnesses. Most of these facilities even have an in-house medicine distribution center that can fill a prescription immediately.
More physicians are working in urgent care centers than ever before, and about 20,000 doctors in the U.S. are practicing Urgent Care Medicine. This is promising for the thousands of Americans who cannot afford the large bills that ER visits generate. On average, a bill from an urgent care facility is no more than $150 dollars, depending on the purpose of the visit. ER costs can set you back at least $1,000.
The next time you are sick, consider finding an urgent care facility near you. If you live in the countryside, you may have to drive a further distance to find one, as only about 10% of these facilities are built in rural areas. About three-quarters of them are located in the suburbs, so the nearest one would be your best bet. With the affordable, quality, immediate care an urgent care center offers, it will be worth the trip. Continue your research here.