An average, three Americans visit urgent care centers every hour. This translates to over 50 visits per day. For the over 7,000 urgent care centers nationwide, this represents a steady flow of patients that need the best in medical assistance. It is easy to see why many patients are flocking to these centers for healthcare services — they’re more affordable than emergency rooms and take a shorter time to treat patients.
With the high number of urgent care centers, you need to know how to weed through the options to find the most suitable one for you. Here are considerations to weigh when you need to visit an urgent care center.
1. Assess the Accreditation
Winnowing through potential urgent care centers is made easier when you look for its accreditation status. This is a means by which you can look for the gold standard when getting treatment. While you can expect most urgent care centers to have the proper accreditation through the Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA), ensuring that the one closest to you adheres to these policies is vital.
There are two types of accreditation that the UCAOA rolls out for any urgent care center seeking certification. In the first level of accreditation, a center can be vouched for after meeting particular requirements. These include extended operating hours, having X-ray and laboratory services, and relying on a medical director to lead the rest of the staff.
In the second level of accreditation, an urgent care clinic has to prove it is offering the highest level of quality and safety. To get this kind of accreditation, an urgent care center needs to facilitate a site visit by the UCAOA. Second-tier urgent care centers must implement specific infection control practices. Getting certified is a bonus when you’re looking for urgent care centers. Keep in mind they will prominently display it on their website for you to find.
2. Determine Your Payment Options
Before you walk in for healthcare services at an urgent care center, you need to know how you will pay for it. While urgent care clinics are often more affordable than other health care options, factors like medical insurance can help you find out whether a clinic is in-network for your plan. A wide range of care centers accept insurance with 58% of UCAOA-affiliated centers taking in Medicare. Many more centers should be able to serve you if you plan to use worker’s compensation as well.
A pro tip to finding a suitable urgent care center is to investigate its insurance options. If it accepts the same insurance plans as your primary care provider, such a center will not limit you on the kind of services you will get.
What about those who do not have medical insurance? Urgent care centers offer various cash discounts which can help lower the total bill. These discounts vary in each state due to state-specific regulations. Another way non-insured patients can lower their bills is by purchasing any prescribed medication from the center’s on-site pharmacy.
3. Have Your Records Ready
Urgent care centers do not maintain extensive records of each patient like regular physicians will. To add to that, you will likely see a new physician that is unfamiliar with your medical history. Ensure you have all the necessary documentation so that you can receive fast care. Otherwise, the treatment might take longer than expected and not be as useful. Some of the records you ought to take with you include:
- Your current medication list
- Your insurance information
- Information on any recent medical procedures, including dental surgeries
Along with your records (which can be in electronic or physical form), you will need to carry your identification with you.
Visit Care Station Medical Today
More people are opting to visit an urgent care center than go to the emergency room. The drivers for this popularity are the fact that urgent care centers are cheaper and offer their services faster. For you to receive the best care possible, visit the experienced staff Care Station Medical today.