Once a novelty, Americans now recognize urgent care clinics to be a great alternative to traditional emergency room services. And, they’re also catching onto the fact that urgent care is a great alternative to primary care, offering everything from regular checkups, physicals, flu shots and more.
Primary Care vs. Urgent Care Costs
Primary care physicians are required to set an “office visit price,” which typically ranges from $100 – $300 depending on the area you live and the doctor’s specialties. Prices can vary widely from physician to physician because there currently is no set guideline for private practices. Primary care physicians will also charge uninsured patients extra for each additional service they provide, and in many instances, private physicians will only see insured patients.
While insured people do not have to worry as much about costs because they have set co-pays, the uninsured should understand their doctors price schedules so they aren’t shocked by the often-hefty out-of-pocket expenses. These same people should also consider going to an urgent care center, where costs are usually much less for the same care.
For instance, consider that the average urgent care visit will cost between $50 and $150, depending on here in the country you live. The base price of your visit is also added to the cost of extra services you may need, such as x-rays, lab tests, casting of broken bones and injections/medications.
As an added bonus, wait times for urgent care centers average just 15 – 20 minutes. Also, no appointment is necessary, you can simply walk in and be seen. Compare this to the fact you may not be able to get an appointment with your primary care physician for close to three weeks. Plus, urgent care centers are open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, with extended hours, something no primary care physician can offer.
The bottom line is: urgent care centers provide comprehensive care options with a full and customizable selection of services to offer. With little or no bureaucratic red tape, streamlined operations, flexible insurance options and direct doctor-patient communication usually within minutes (not hours), urgent care clinics typically enjoy a more straightforward, efficient fiscal policy in which the savings are passed on to patients and customers. Is it any wonder thousands of patients each year are turning toward urgent care to handle all of their primary care needs?
What Kinds of Illnesses Do Urgent Care Centers Treat?
There is still some confusion as to the services urgent care centers offer compared to PCPs and ERs. Here is a partial list of the kinds of services clinics like Urgent Way offer the community:
Why schedule an appointment 3 weeks in advance when your son or daughter needs a sports physical, or when you need one to complete your immigration? Urgent care clinics streamline the entire process. Simply walk in and be seen on that same day, and get the results you need quickly.
Most urgent care centers also offer a variety of lab services so they can better diagnose patients. These lab services are the same ones offered by your primary care physician or an emergency room. In addition to blood screenings, clinics offer x-rays and CAT scans.
Many people are surprised to learn that urgent care clinics offer a variety of routine services that include preventative measures. Some things typically offered are:
- Vaccinations and flu shots
- Gynecologic exams
- Drug screenings
- Pediatric care
- And more
There may be times you or a family member is experiencing symptoms of an illness and can’t get in to see your PCP quick enough. Urgent care centers are the place to go should you be experiencing any of the following:
- Swollen glands
- Sore throat
- Minor abdominal pain
- Ear pain
- Other unexplained pain or swelling
Wound Care / Sprains / Broken Bones
Often people head to the ER when they’ve received a superficial wound or have what they think could be a sprain or break. But ERs should only be visited when you believe you have a life-threatening illness. Your local urgent care clinic will be able to stitch cuts and set broken bones, and they’ll do it at a fraction of the price of an emergency room.
Urgent care clinics can help implement occupational healthcare plans (also known as wellness programs) on both a pre-employment and ongoing basis. Many, like Urgent Way, have a multi-tier drug testing plan for employers so they may choose the best possible candidates.
From flu shots to physicals – x-rays to gynecological exams, it’s easy to see why Americans are choosing urgent care clinics over a traditional primary care physician or even an emergency room. With urgent care, patients get the best of both worlds: immediate medical attention of an ER with personalized long-term care options.
Urgent Way is committed to providing quality and affordable primary care. We have locations in Hempstead, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Hicksville, and the Bronx, and are open 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Feel free to stop into any one of our locations, or call and speak with one of our staff.