There are minor illnesses and major illnesses. There are minor injuries and major injuries. There are different levels of care. This article is about a type of care that developed in the 1980’s to bridge the gap between the primary care physician and the emergency room. It is about urgent care.
Urgent care was the brainchild of a group of physicians in the 1980’s. Back then, there were only two options for someone to get treatment for an urgent condition: Go to the emergency room or wait for an appointment with a primary care physician. Both of those avenues were not palatable for many.
A primary care physician’s office is good to treat many illnesses, most of them minor. It is good to get a diagnosis for the flu or for bronchitis, but is not good to deal with a heart attack or stroke. The unfortunate part of the process is that the primary care physician’s office isn’t built to deal with immediate or emergency issues.
The issue is partly with the appointment.
To see a primary care physician, a person has to get an appointment, which is generally not the same day. This appointment builds the length of time it takes to get treatment, which can be dangerous if someone has a condition that flares up, such as diabetes. In these cases, a person needs help that day. A primary physician likely can’t see them.
In the 1980’s, that person would have little choice but to go to the emergency room. And the emergency room, while having the best equipment in the area or the most skilled doctors, costs a great deal. Back then, the damage would have been done in the hundreds. Today, with inflation, the cost of going to the emergency room is in the thousands.
Emergency rooms are helpful for many people. But for those who do not have insurance or those who do not have savings, an emergency room visit can put people in a great deal of debt.
The urgent care center is named for the immediacy of treatment: It handles urgent cases and treats them with possible effectiveness. This means that any case that is too serious or urgent for the primary care physician’s office or less than life-threatening (which is the purview of the emergency room) can be treated.
It has some major good things about it. First, urgent care centers see people on a walk-in basis. That means that urgent care centers see patients as they come in, without an appointment. This gives them an advantage compared to the primary care physician’s office. It allows them to see urgent cases.
Second, urgent care centers have a relatively high level of diagnostic equipment available. Unlike the primary care physician’s office, they have x-ray equipment to deal with injuries like ankle sprains or bone fractures. They have other equipment as well to help with injuries and illnesses.
Third, urgent care centers are less expensive than the emergency room, by a degree of thousands of dollars. The co-pay for urgent care centers is often less than $100, and the price without insurance is several hundred dollars. These compare to an emergency room visit that costs hundreds of dollars with insurance and thousands of dollars without.
There are statistics that show the type of injuries and illnesses urgent care centers treat. They are worth noting in this article. They are:
- An estimated 3 million patients visit urgent care centers each week, according to the Urgent Care Association of America.
- Roughly 60% of all urgent care centers have a wait time of less than 15 minutes to see a physician or mid-level provider, and 65% have a physician on-site at all times.
- According to a private study conducted by Milliman, approximately 44-65% of all ER episodes could have been treated in urgent care clinic settings.
- 25,000 Americans suffer from an ankle sprain each day.
There are terms worth noting. They are urgent care services near me, what is urgent care, what can urgent care do, and more.
Family urgent care is important as well. Family urgent care signifies that urgent care can take care of the family. That means kids, adults, grandparents and more. Family urgent care has all the tools available. Family urgent care can help kids as well as adults.