You will never know you need a 24 hour urgent care center until that very last second when the tibia of your friend breaks and pokes through their skin. The office of his primary physician was closed, and the ER was way too busy, but luckily we knew where a 24 hour urgent care center was located, and got him in there pronto.
These centers are great. Almost two thirds of 24 hour urgent care centers employ a mixture of physicians, nurse practitioners or physician assistants, and about 65 percent of 24 hour urgent care centers have at all times at least one physician on site.
Considering the fact that there are approximately 6.8 million bones broken in the United State each and every year, and how many of them happen on a weekend when an office might be closed like in the case of my friend, these 24 hour urgent care facilities are growing in importance each day. I mean, there are only about 29 percent of primary care doctors who have after hours coverage. This means that for the rest of the 71 percent of people, they have to come to a 24 hour urgent care center or an ER on the weekends.
These care centers actually have an increasingly wide range of services, which include lab services, x rays and routine physicals, though they do concentrate on the evaluation and treatment of acutely arising conditions.
The 24 hour urgent care centers also did right by me for another more private matter. I was not sure where to go and was too embarrassed to face my family doctor for it, so I went to the same 24 hour urgent care facility to get an STD test for men. They handled it professionally and discretely, which I truly appreciated.
So the next time you think you need to go to an ER, consider the 24 hour urgent care facility near you. According to a 2010 study from the Rand Corporation, it found that nearly one in five (thats is 20 percent of) visits to hospital ERs could have been treated at urgent care centers. This could have potentially saved $4.4 billion annually in health care costs.
You might be asking “Is there an urgent care near me?” and, hopefully, yes. I would recommend you find out if there is, and then mark it on your map, because you will never know if and when you might need it.