Urgent medical care facilities offer an alternative to traditional emergency health care facilities, like emergency rooms. Doctors’ offices and emergency rooms have become very overcrowded and expensive in recent years, so urgent medical care facilities have quickly sprung up to respond to this problem. Where you may spend hours waiting in an emergency room, at an urgent medical care center, on average you will be seen in about twenty minutes.
Urgent care providers have popped so much across the US in recent years that in 2009 a certification program was established for them. About half of people go to emergency rooms because they were not sick enough to be admitted to the hospital and their doctor’s office was closed at the time they needed assistance. Additionally, about 20% of cases treated at emergency rooms could have been handled by an urgent care facility, which would save billions in health care costs annually. Urgent care patients generally are seeking treatment for one of a number of common ailments that, while minor, still require medical treatment, like burns, cuts, minor fractures and sprains, respiratory illnesses, and gastrointestinal problems. If you have ever spent a long time waiting in an emergency room because of an uncomfortable problem like one of these, an urgent care facility could be a good alternative for you in the future.
Urgent care facilities generally use a mixture of nurses, physician’s assistants, and doctors to provide their care. To save costs, generally nurses and physician’s assistants do most of the treatments, but about two thirds of urgent medical care facilities have a doctor onsite as long as they are open. Also, many of these facilities offer after hour care, like an emergency room, so that you can get treatment whenever you are having a problem, rather than being forced to wait for a doctor’s appointment. Learn more about this topic here.