Urgent Care Medical Clinics are a relatively new phenomenon, appearing over the last two decades as an answer to long wait times in Emergency Rooms, as well as the astronomical fees that would come with the wait. The services they offer have changed, or grown, for many of these establishments and the demand in the American market for the services on offer at the average Urgent Care Clinic is such that in a 2012 survey, 40% of the these type of clinics planned to expand within a year. To help people understand these places, here are their origin, how they work, and what they accomplish.
- Origin: Anyone that has sat in a doctor?s waiting room for over three hours just to be called back to wait in an exam needs no explanation for why these clinics first started to spring up. Waiting for a primary care physician is often pointless and expensive, but walk in clinics are not only covered by most insurance but they take a fraction of the time of doctor?s offices and emergency rooms. For any friends that think a doctor at an Urgent Care is unlicensed, merely point to the doctors directory with your insurance, for no insurance agency would put itself at risk with a bad doctor.
- How They Work These centers are open late and offer a number of unscheduled appointments to those that just walk in. With their wide range of services, they can address the overflow from primary care offices and people not quite bad enough for the emergency room.
- Results: Most research shows that Urgent Care centers lower the rate of Emergency Room visits, but not of hospitalized care. This would mean that the people who were truly having a medical emergency and needed admitrtance were still seen, but those who needed less care went elsewhere
There is still a distrust for Urgent Care Clinics by some individuals. These impressions are not the results of fact finding research, usually its bias alone. Most Urgent Care Clinics accept insurance and are listed in the doctors directory like every other doctor the insurance company vetted and approved to treat their customers.