According to a Benchmarking Report by The Urgent Care Association of America, there are 7,357 urgent care centers in the United States. Urgent Care facilities play a significant role in the fast-changing healthcare system. With 3 million patients attended to every week, the clinics offer an alternative to costly emergency visits and two-weeks-from-now doctor’s appointments.
However, even with the increasing popularity, some common misconceptions exist, making patients skeptical about the level of care. Believing these myths may prevent you from taking full advantage of urgent care services.
Myth #1: Urgent Care Facilities Are the Same as Emergency Rooms
It is not uncommon to hear a patient mistakenly lump up urgent care clinics in the same category as emergency centers. While there is plenty of general similarities, emergency rooms are suitable for life-threatening conditions such as severe bleeding, heart attacks, and strokes. An urgent care center offers immediate treatment for non-life-threatening conditions such as ankle sprains, the flu, and ear infections.
Myth #2: Urgent Care Is Only Available in the Evenings and Weekends
Some people believe urgent clinics are only suitable for evenings and weekends, during their doctor’s off-hours. However, most facilities are open throughout the day. They can offer fast, convenient healthcare in situations where you can’t afford to wait for long at your physician’s office.
Myth #3: Urgent Care Can Replace Your Primary Care Doctor
While medical practitioners at the urgent care clinics can offer the same level of care, it may be a good idea to maintain routine visits to your physician. The long-term relationship with your doctor is important in maintaining good health, especially when dealing with chronic or ongoing health issues. Urgent care centers can offer immediate treatment and provide copies of the records to hand over to your regular doctor.
Myth #4: Hospital Care Is Better Than In Urgent Care Centers
Some patients have a preconceived notion that the level of care in urgent care facilities is lower than in a doctor’s office or an emergency room. This is far from the truth. Medical professionals in the urgent care clinics received the same education and professional training as their counterparts in hospitals. They are board-certified physicians and nurses qualified to administer treatment for any medical condition.
Myth #5: Urgent Care Is Expensive
It costs much less to receive treatment in urgent care facilities than a trip to the ER. You typically only need to cover standard co-pay costs, with the insurance provider handling all other expenses. A recent study by Health Grades shows the median cost of a visit to an emergency room is $1233, while that of urgent care is just $150.
Myth #6: Urgent Care Facilities Do Not Take Appointments
Many patients who show up at the centers are walk-in visitors who require immediate treatment. However, urgent care clinics still accept same-day appointments. Some providers have adopted innovative booking software that further shortens your wait-times at their facilities.
Myth #7: Urgent Care Facilities Don’t Offer Specialized Services
Some patients wrongfully think urgent care clinics only handle dire emergencies. The facilities can offer specialized care such as pediatric care, adult care, and sports medicine. If you’re unsure whether the local provider offers a specific service, give them a call or check out their website.
The demand for quality healthcare in the country is increasing rapidly. Urgent care centers are effective in helping bridge the gap. Care Station Medical Group has state-of-the-art facilities and friendly medical teams to handle all your non-life-threatening emergencies.