Urgent care centers are a rapidly-expanding segment of the healthcare industry. With over 7000 centers nationwide, urgent care facilities offer convenient, walk-in healthcare services to patients. In 2016, the Urgent Care Association reported that more than 15000 patient visited their facilities.
With the overwhelming number of options available today, it can be confusing for patients trying to choose the right urgent care services. Here are seven questions to help you make an informed decision.
1. Do They Accept Your Insurance Plan?
It is no secret that today’s medical care can be costly. To avoid paying higher than expected out-of-pocket expenses, make sure you select an urgent care center that accepts your insurance plan. The best way is to ask your insurance provider to offer a list of in-network facilities around your area.
2. How Much Will You Pay?
You also need to determine the pricing model of the urgent care facility. There is no need to go to a walk-in clinic and be slapped with an ER-sized bill. To keep the cost down, find an affordable medical center. For non-insured patients, you can reduce your cost by taking advantage of the in-house pharmacy to purchase your prescriptions.
3. What Is the Current Wait-time?
The attractiveness of an urgent care facility over an emergency room is the time convenience. According to a 2017 Benchmarking Report Summary sponsored by the Urgent Care Association, 90% of their members have wait times of less than half an hour. You can also save time by opting to fill in your medical details online before walking into the clinic.
4. Do You Need an Appointment?
Most urgent care facilities operate as walk-in clinics serving 12 to 13 hours on weekdays. They offer care to their patients as they come in and register. You may not need an appointment to see a doctor. You can also reverse a specific time spot through their online check-in system. If unsure about their hours and appointments, you can call in to confirm.
5. What Services Do They Offer?
It is also advisable to find an urgent care facility tailored to your needs. This means digging deeper on their website to find out the types of services they offer.
Some clinics provide primary care over and above, treating non-threatening injuries and illnesses that require immediate attention. They may also have specialist services such as dermatology and sports medicine.
6. What Type of Practitioner Will Attend to You?
Most reputable urgent care clinics have an assorted range of healthcare providers on their payroll. They range from doctors, physician assistants (PA), Nurse Practitioners (NP) to X-ray technologies, and therapists ready to serve you. In some states, PAs and NPs are licensed to work autonomously without supervision from physicians. If you have specific preferences, call in urgent care centers around you to find out the providers available.
7. Can They Easily Communicate with Your Primary Care Provider?
For most people walking into urgent care facilities, they may not be near their primary physician and need urgent care, or the office is already shut. Choose a clinic that can easily share the information with your doctor for a follow-up.
Urgent care clinics are attractive alternatives to ER, offering convenient and affordable services. Answering these seven questions can help you find the right facility for you. Care Station Medical Group provides urgent medical attention through its offices throughout New Jersey.