It’s a busy world we live in. Everything is constantly moving, and people are busier than ever. It’s no wonder urgent care has become a huge factor in the American medical system, with thousands of centers now operating across the country. According to the Urgent Care Association of America, there are now over 7,000 such facilities operating across the country. That number will probably continue to rise as people seek more timely and convenient ways to get their everyday medical care.
Obviously, there will always be a need for specialists, and this will probably always require appointments and significant wait times. But the fact is that urgent care is abundantly equipped and qualified to handle the vast majority of everyday medical needs, without the waiting or frustration. That’s why people are visiting urgent care centers across the country in record numbers.
Here are four of the biggest reasons to give your local urgent care center a try in non-life threatening medical situations, rather than heading for the ER or a regular clinic/hospital.
One of the main benefits of urgent care — and this is something that’s very important to most people — is the lack of wait times. Sure, you might have to register and wait a few minutes before being seen. But you don’t need an appointment, and in most cases, you’ll be in a private consulting room with a highly qualified medical professional (MD, PA, NP or RN) in a matter of minutes. That kind of convenience is revolutionary in terms of medical care. Your life is busy, and you shouldn’t have to wait around all day to have your medical needs addressed.
Since you don’t need an appointment to visit urgent care, you can literally drop in whenever you have the need. It could be that your child is exhibiting signs of strep throat. It could be that you need a flu vaccine, or have possibly broken your arm while playing sports. A whole range of medical situations, injuries and illnesses can be effectively treated with no appointment whatsoever. But if there’s any chance the injury is life-threatening, skip urgent care and head straight for the nearest emergency department.
It’s Quality Care
People sometimes think that urgent care centers are staffed by lower-grade medical professional, but this simply isn’t true. There is a very high demand for quality urgent care today, which means that many doctors and other highly qualified medical people are being drawn to these facilities. Your urgent care center should provide an utterly professional level of care, and if something is beyond their capability to treat, they’ll send you in the right direction.
It’s Covered (Probably)
Depending on your insurance program, most urgent care visits will be covered by your policy. Your plan will decide the particulars, and there are some things to be aware of, such as participating networks and possibilities for out-of-state coverage. But in general, your local urgent care center will bill your insurance company for treatment received. It’s important to make sure the front desk has your current insurance information, in order to avoid any misunderstandings.
The proof is in your experience
As you learn to visit your local urgent care center in non-life threatening situations, you should gain a high degree of confidence in the level of care you receive, and the overall convenience and efficiency you experience. If one particular urgent care center doesn’t seem to meet your expectations, give them an honest review online, and remember — there are many urgent care centers to choose from. All of them will meet high standards of care, but some will be exceptional.