When injury or illness strikes, it does not always do it during normal working hours. Sometimes, it happens at night or on the weekends. Now new facilities are open that can take the place of the ER and urgent care clinics in one occasion.
For a long time, when people suffered an injury or illness and their doctor’s office was closed, they had only one choice. They had to go to the emergency room. The problem is that so many people use the emergency department who do not actually have a true medical emergency.
Every year, at least 110 million people visit the emergency department.
Then several emergency room physicians had an idea. They wanted to provide health care to people on a walk in basis. They saw this need and opened the first urgent care centers. Today, this part of health care delivery includes 10,000 clinics all over the United States. In keeping with the need for affordable, convenient health care got as boost from how cost effective is. Increasingly, insurance companies are recommending their policy holders go to urgent care clinics when they suffer from conditions ranging from headaches to stomach pain and sore throats.
The problems is that a great majority of those people do not get admitted to the hospital and could be treated at an urgent care center. In 2009, the Rand Corporation looked at the system. They found that anywhere between 14 and 27% of all cases that are seen in the emergency room could be treated by an urgent care center. Millman has estimated that somewhere between 44 and 65% of all visits to emergency rooms could be treated in an urgent care setting.
Now there is a new kid on the health care block. Hybrid centers with both an ER and urgent care center. These hybrid centers offer the services of the ER and urgent care center and can be good for times when a sick or injured person is not sure where to go for unscheduled health care needs.
There are some real benefits to going to a center with an ER and urgent care center. The wait at urgent care centers is a lot less than in a traditional hospital emergency room. In many of the centers around the country, people wait no more than 15 minutes. That is the case for about 60% of the urgent care clinics. Moreover, people are often seen and out of the clinic within an hour.
The treatment people receive at urgent care centers is certainly cheaper than care that is received in an ER. It has been estimated that insurance companies pay about $302 for a visit to the emergency room whereas urgent care reimbursements are generally about $103. This is one reason that insurance companies have taken to the idea of sending people to urgent care facilities.
The problem is that there are times when a visit to the emergency room is needed. It is often hard for a person to know if they need an ER or can get away with going to an urgent care center. That is the beauty of centers with an ER and urgent care center. This “one stop” shopping means faster care and a better overall experience.
From their unlikely start, urgent care centers have taken off around the country. They offer patients a better experience when they need medical care but it is not an emergency. By having both an ER and urgent care center in the same place, patients can get the care they need when they need it.
Urgent care centers are also a lot less stressful that an emergency room visit. People are often able to book a spot at the urgent care center online but they also take walk in patients. In a lot of ways, by combining an ER and urgent care center, patients are able to get the best of both worlds. Most urgent care centers are open seven days a week and offer openings before and after the work day, making then convenient and fast for working people and parents.