Urgent care clinics and after hours urgent care centers have been heralded as the saviors of the American healthcare industry as they continue to bridge the gap between traditional physician offices and hospital emergency rooms, especially since the passing of the Affordable Care Act which created an influx of newly insured patients. In fact, urgent care centers are the fastest growing segment of the American healthcare industry, generating a substantial amount of revenue each year.
Urgent care facilities are especially popular because of their affordable rates. A trip to the emergency can set you back thousands, while treatment for the same condition at an urgent care center is significantly less, costing only a few hundred or less. Additionally, urgent care hours, especially those of after hour urgent care centers, have also contributed to their increasing popularity. Most traditional physician offices operate under normal business hours, typically between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., whereas after hours urgent care centers are often open 24 hours a day.
However, keep in mind that not all conditions can be treated at an urgent care center. Urgent care centers are focused on the evaluation and treatment of acutely occurring medical conditions that are not severe enough to require treatment at a hospital emergency room, yet still require some form of medical attention. Common ailments treated at urgent care centers include stomach bugs, upper respiratory infection, urinary tract infections, and sprains or strains.
If at anytime you are experiencing a life threatening emergency, such as a suspected stroke or heartache, proceed to the nearest hospital immediately. While many conditions may contribute to sharp chest pain, it’s best to err on the side of caution and seek treatment at a hospital. Mere seconds can mean the difference between life and death in terms of a true medical emergency.
As urgent care centers continue to expand their repertoire of medical services, it can be hard to distinguish which treatment option is best for your medical needs. Ultimately, listen to your gut. However, urgent care centers will continue to be a viable alternative in the healthcare industry. More like this article.