For those who are looking for affordable health care, urgent care centers and walk in clinics often provide a viable alternative for going to see a general care practitioner and even for going to the emergency room. While many people are fortunate enough to have good health insurance that covers all of their health care needs, this is not true for everyone. Those who are uninsured must often go to the emergency room if they want to receive any medical care at all, and it is no secret that the emergency room costs far too much money even for those who have insurance. In fact, if you receive treatment in an emergency room without insurance, you are looking at a bill of one thousand dollars or more, even if your visit was relatively quick and for a relatively minor issue.
Fortunately, urgent care centers, which now treat as many as three million people a week all around the country, provide a viable alternative – one that is more affordable and more time efficient than even a regular doctor’s visit would be, something that can be incredibly ideal for the typical working person living an all too busy life. In fact, the average waiting time for more than half of all urgent care centers (approximately sixty percent of them) is only about fifteen minutes and just over sixty percent have a licensed physician on site at all times that they are open. Urgent care centers and other such walk in clinics also tend to be open every day of the week, with eighty five percent open even on the weekends. For someone who would find it difficult to take time off of work, this can be incredibly ideal. If a minor medical emergency arises on a weekend day, you can even avoid going to the emergency room (and avoiding the exorbitant costs associated with it) and simply go to your nearest urgent care center or walk in clinic instead.
But many people are concerned about what an urgent care center is actually qualified to treat. The answer is that most urgent care locations can treat a wider array of illnesses and injuries than people realize. In fact, the vast majority (about eighty percent, or four urgent care centers out of every five) have the tools and training to diagnose and treat fractures, something that most people would assume needed hospital attention. They are also adept at treating more minor injuries, such as sprained ankles, of which there are more than twenty five thousand of in just one day. Wound repair is also common – and is, in fact, the most widely performed service in an urgent care center no matter where you might go in the country – as walk in clinics and the like can perform stitches as long as the injury has not cut too deep. Common conditions like the flu and urinary tract infections are also often seen and treated (as much as they can be, in the case of viral infections like the flu) and an astonishing seventy percent of all urgent care centers will even be able to offer you fluid through an IV if you are seriously dehydrated.
This type of care is far beyond the scope of what most people think about when they think about an urgent care center, but it makes the typical walk in clinic or urgent care location all the more appealing. After all, such medical clinics are far less expensive than the emergency room will be, costing as little as just over two hundred dollars even for those who do not have any form of medical insurance. On top of this, it has been found that the vast majority of cases seen in an emergency room – as many as sixty percent of them, if not more – could actually have easily and adeptly been treated in an urgent care location. And only around three percent – less even than five percent – of all cases seen in the typical urgent care center ended up needing to be transferred to a hospital.