Urgent care clinics are very common. In fact, most communities have one or more available to their residents. But what is urgent care? Simply put, an urgent care clinic is there to provide medical treatment for illnesses and injuries that are urgent, but not emergencies. Here are 5 important facts to know about urgent care before your next visit.
Urgent Care Is Not Emergency Care
The urgent care clinic is available for people who are not in immediate danger. They do not have the capacity to treat things like heart attacks or strokes. If you think that you are in danger, go to the emergency room. If you think treatment is necessary, but you aren’t at risk of death, urgent care can be a faster and cheaper alternative.
Wait Times Are Shorter Than the ER
Emergency rooms are notorious for their long wait times. An urgent care can treat you much more quickly than your emergency room. This makes them ideal for smaller issues like stitches or illness.
Urgent Care Is Staffed By Medical Professionals
Just because it’s not the hospital doesn’t mean urgent care provides inferior care. Urgent care clinics are staffed by doctors and nurses. Some clinics even have a pharmacy on site. In these cases, doctors can prescribe medications and the patient can leave with them.
Urgent Care Is Cheaper
If you go to the emergency room, you’ll likely have a large bill to pay. While you’ll likely need to pay for urgent care as well, the bill will be much smaller. Your payment will depend on the urgent care clinic’s prices and your insurance coverage, so make sure you check both those things before getting treated.
Many Urgent Cares Are Corporate
While some urgent cares are run by hospitals or other medical organizations, many are corporate-owned. While this does not mean they are worse than others, it does mean they are a for-profit company. It is useful to know who runs your local urgent care before you go.
Urgent care is a great alternative for illness and injuries that don’t need emergency medical treatment. They provide care in less time and for less money. So, next time you have a minor illness or injury that needs care, consider visiting your local MedPlus urgent care for help.