Many people will go to the emergency room when facing a medical problem that occurs after hours when their physician may not be available. However, there is an option that may be more suitable, that of visiting an urgent care center.
If the condition is not life threatening, such as a cough, a sprain, a strain, or an ear infection, you may be better off visiting an urgent care center. This is a great option on the weekends or in the evening when your doctor may not be available. You can still visit your regular doctor after a visit of this type for follow up care.
Most urgent care clinics have doctors as well as nurse practitioners and physicians assistants on staff. These people are well qualified to help you with your immediate medical needs. In addition to these urgent care type situations, many of these clinics are also offering services such as routine check ups, blood work ups, X rays, and vaccinations like flu shot vaccines. There are also facilities that can provide any prescribed medications that may be required during your visit.
These urgent care clinics are often much less expensive than a visit to the emergency room. In fact, an average visit to the emergency room can cost upwards of $1,500, while an urgent care visit can cost around $150. Additionally, the wait time in a walk in clinic is often much less that a visit to a hospital. Like emergency rooms, these clinics are open 24 hours a day, so there is no reason to wait until your regular doctor can see you, if you feel the injury or illness needs immediate attention.
It is a great idea to know the location of the nearest urgent care clinic. You should check around for those nearest your home. You can also ask your regular physician for a referral. You should also check to make sure that the urgent care clinic will accept your insurance. You should even consider locating the nearest urgent care clinic for any travel, such as vacations and such, so you have the peace of mind that treatment is close by should anything happen while you are away from home.
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