It’s Saturday afternoon and your 6-year old son falls and injuries his wrist during a soccer game. His wrist is now tender and swollen, but your physician’s office is closed for the weekend. What do you do? When someone needs immediate medical care the first line of advice is to seek help at the nearest emergency room. But is this truly an emergency? A trip to the emergency room almost always involves a long wait and a high copay. Urgent care centers offer an alternative option for individuals who need immediate care but not necessarily emergency treatment!
Urgent care centers are specialized facilities usually staffed by physicians and nurse practitioners which are designed to treat minor medical conditions for significantly lower fees. The National Library of Medicine estimates that 13.7% to 27.1% of emergency room visits could be treated at an alternative site, such as an urgent care center. Unlike primary care physicians, individuals do not need an appointment to seek treatment at an urgent care center and many are often open for extended hours, including nights and weekends. Urgent care centers are able to treat patients are a variety of minor health conditions, including rashes, burns, broken bones, ear infections, sprains, flu or mild respiratory problems without all of the extra overhead fees. Understanding your options now will make decisions easier the next time you’re in need of immediate care. Use this link to help you locate an urgent care center near you. Know where to go BEFORE the situation arises!
Photo credit: David Castillo Dominici