Whatever your position is on the Affordable Care Act, you may be one of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who, for the first time, will have access to health insurance. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in the past year about 82% of Americans were in contact with a medical professional. With greater access to healthcare, that number is expected to grow.
Kaiser Health News recently reported that these growing numbers could pose a problem for medical providers. A study conducted by the Health Resources and Services Administration found that approximately 20% of people in this country are living in areas that do not have enough primary care doctors to meet their needs. The Association of American Medical Colleges predicts that by 2020 there may be a shortage of approximately 45,000 primary care doctors.
So now that you have health insurance, how do you find a doctor when it’s likely that there are not enough available, and each year it may become harder and harder? Unfortunately, primary care doctors may not be the solution, especially for busy families who have difficulty getting to a general family doctor during their open hours, or scheduling a visit when the only open appointments may be weeks down the road. Did you know that in the United States, the average waiting room time is about 19 minutes?
Fortunately, there are medical facilities that fill the gap between primary care, and emergency clinics. If you can’t get an appointment with a family doctor, and you suspect you might have strep-throat, or you are having an allergic reaction, then you don’t need to postpone getting medical care, or turn your schedule upside down, just to get in to the family doctor. These other, more accessible facilities can go by the names “urgent care,” or “walk-in clinics.” With these clinics, you might not see the same doctor every time you visit, but they are still a valuable option when you can’t get to your usual doctor. Many of these walk-in clinics can perform x-rays, blood work, and even prescribe antibiotics.
Finding primary care may start to become difficult as the shortage of doctors continues, and as more people begin seeking regular medical consultation. However, urgent care and walk-in clinics are a growing industry, and they can easily fill the gap by providing crucial medical services to people that find themselves in need of help. Also, many healthy people don’t see the need to visit a family doctor only to find out that they are still, in fact, healthy, and so they may be better served by visiting walk-in clinics when they have need of medical attention. You can use online reviews to find a family doctor, or an urgent care center in your area. Knowing how to access both will be crucial as the status and availability of healthcare in this nation continues to be in flux. Find more on this topic here: Urgent care clinic san antonio texas