Ever year, there are over 110 million emergency room visits. The value of pediatric urgent care can never be over-estimated. In fact, urgent care in general provides a valuable service across America, with nearly 20,000 physicians practising Urgent Care Medicine today. The number of urgent care physicians is increasing. In all, there are over 9,300 walk-in, stand-alone urgent care centers in America, with 50 to 100 new ones opening annually. This is good news considering since Urgent Care is the fast-growing medical field
On average more than 340 patients are seen by urgent care centers every week, according 2011 statistics by the Urgent Care Association of America, and most centers saw an increase of 28 new patients per month. For patients, attending urgent care can mean savings and in cases where the injury or illness is non life-threatening, urgent care centers are the best option. Emergency care is not for emergency room departments only. In fact, emergency room visits should be limited to genuine emergencies. Worryingly more than 70% of visits to emergency rooms are for non-emergency conditions or those that could be prevented through outpatient interventions, according to a report from Truven Health Analytics. The result of this is costly with such non-emergency cases that could be treated in urgent care facilities costing an average of $2,039. The same case would cost just $226 at an urgent care facility.
The average reimbursement for emergency hospital departments is $302 per patient, while urgent acre reimbursements average out at about $103 per patient, according to a report. Most such urgent care clinics have about seven treatment or exam rooms. Approximately 4.5 patients are seen per hour in most urgent care centers. this can different on specific days or times depending on the nature of injuries or illnesses. As of 2014, close to all centers (97%) are open every day of the week. Significantly, all urgent care centers including pediatric urgent care centers have a wait time 15 minutes less than emergency treatments. This is for access to a physician or mid-level provider. More than 65% of urgent care centers have a physician on-site at all times.
Americans need to realize that much of what has traditionally been considered emergency room situations can be handled in urgent care. By choosing urgent care for non-emergency conditions, we can lower the pressure on already-stretched emergency departments and still get the excellent level of care that is needed.