The Difference Between Clinics and Hospitals

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When a person is healthy, medical choices are distant, academic questions that are often pushed off for another day. No harm in doing so, a person would claim, pointing to a life devoid of much more than a cold. The reality is these decisions can be, at the bare minimum, a matter of inconvenience and lost time. In more extreme circumstances, the choices neglected can later be a matter of life and death. Better to educate yourself before something occurs to make it an urgent issue. One point of confusion for many is the difference between a hospital and a community health clinic, with many assumptions clouding the issue.


  • Can be privately owned or government institutions. Privately owned includes facilities that are owned by religious bodies, like those operated by the Catholic Church, or those that are for-profit businesses. Government institutions are often not as well-funded as their private counterparts, although that is not always true.
  • A hospital is designed to treat an acute illness or injury. Patients are admitted for treatment then discharged once their health allows. Treatment happens at a faster pace than can be managed in other environments.
  • Hospitals are expensive. This is a result of the level of care they provide and the facilities, equipment, and personnel required to do so effectively.

Walk In Health Clinic/Urgent Care Facilities

  • These medical facilities can be for-profit establishments or non-profit endeavors and take many different forms. They serve diverse populations and are becoming more common over time.
  • None of the various forms of clinics are equipped to treat life or death medical circumstances. They are, however, better able to maintain health over the long term. A neighborhood health clinic for children can provide vaccinations and the individualized, long-term attention that hospitals are not designed to provide.
  • Although many clinics are not free, they are still a less expensive option than hospitals. For those without insurance, taking a sick child to a health clinic for children can save hundreds of dollars.

Both clinics serve a specific need, but when a person is making decisions quickly about the appropriate response to a loved one being in distress, especially a child, the tendency to overreact becomes common. Except in extreme cases, this impulse is not only not necessary but costly. To prevent this, educate yourself about options in your area today. More on this topic. References.

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