It’s too bad emergency rooms can’t take a cue from those annoying pharmaceutical commercials that come with a long, long list of side effects. If they did, Americans might think twice before seeking emergency room care.
For decades now, many Americans have had no choice but to visit emergency rooms for sudden injuries and illness. After breaking a bone, a nasty cut, a sudden sore throat and cough, and countless other ailments, too many people would trek to the nearest emergency room. There, they would spend hours waiting to see a doctor. Weeks later, a bill bigger than their last paycheck arrives in the mail. It’s an inefficient system, and one with disastrous side effects for public health.
Filling the Gap Between ERs and Primary Care
Besides the expansion of health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, one of the biggest trends in U.S. health care has been the emergence of the urgent care industry.
Virtually unheard of just a decade ago, urgent care clinics have emerged as a viable alternative to the long lines and massive bills that come from visiting an emergency room in hospitals. What’s more, they offer emergency care for people who can’t wait for an appointment with their primary care physician. In 2015, there are an estimated 20,000 doctors practicing Urgent Care Medicine. Because it’s a recent trend in health care, many people have questions about the services and treatment options urgent care centers can provide.
The Truth About Urgent Care Locations Near You…
Here are some fast facts to consider:
- According to the Urgent Care Association of America, as many as three million patients visit urgent care and walk in clinics every week.
- For people with emergency medical issues who can’t wait for their doctor’s office to open, access is crucial. Fortunately, more than two-thirds of urgent care centers are open before 9 a.m. on weekdays.
- Fully 85% of urgent care centers are open on weekends, too.
- Four out of five clinics now offer fracture care.
- The most common reason for visiting a walk in clinic? Upper respiratory conditions. The most common procedure urgent care doctors performed? Wound repair.
Most members of the health care community agree that urgent care clinics will continue to spread in 2016. If you need medical care fast, then look for urgent care locations near you.
Remember: for medical emergencies and life-threatening situations, call 911 immediately!