When you need quality medical care, where do you go? You might have a primary physician that you see frequently. But, what about when you cannot get an appointment or you require emergency care? You want the best in urgent care services and simply choosing the first one you see may not always be the best choice. Ensuring that you and your family have the best in urgent care services requires some preparation and research. Be ready if you have a family medical emergency.
Location is not the only important factor, but it is important. You do not want to choose an urgent care setting that is too far from your home. If an emergency occurs, it may take too long to get to the urgent care office. Also, if you have to run by your urgent care choice to make a payment or pick up prescriptions, it will be easier if they are closer to your home. You will also find that proximity is a necessary factor when you have an infant at home.
If you have a primary physician that you see for regular checkups and routine medical visits, you are likely only selecting an urgent care physician for after hours care. You do not want to choose an urgent care setting that carries similar hours to your regular physician. In fact, the more extended the hours are, the better it is for you. Nearly all urgent care centers in 2014 operate 7 days a week (97%) and are open at least 4 hours per day (99%). However, you will want to specifically inquire about your urgent care center?s hours of operation. It is also important to request specifically at what hours a physician will be in the office. A nurse may be helpful for some medical questions, but for others, you may want the advanced knowledge of a physician.
It can also be helpful to know exactly what certifications, specializations, and trainings the physicians have at the urgent care center. Although this may not be important for generalized medical care, it may be necessary for more specific of questions, such as with pediatric care. When you have problems with your child, you want the best in urgent care services for them and that requires a physician with advanced pediatric knowledge.
Urgent care features
You will also want to evaluate the specific features in the urgent care center. If you hurt your ankle after a bad fall, you will likely need diagnostic imaging to view the problem. If you fall and hurt your back on some slippery ice, diagnostic imaging is needed to evaluate the extent of the problem. If you require blood work for a diagnosis, the family urgent care center will need lab services. If your urgent care center does not have advanced diagnostic and laboratory services, you may have to still visit your primary physician or the local emergency centers for these types of medical concerns.
You probably only visit with primary physicians that your insurance provider covers. Receiving the best in urgent care services can be very expensive, especially if you have to pay for them out of pocket. However, if you choose an urgent care that accepts your current health insurance, you will also notice the decrease in co pays between an urgent care center and the local emergency department. An urgent care treatable case handled in a hospital emergency room costs an average of $2,039, while the same case treated in an urgent care facility would run approximately $226.
Emergency medical departments and urgent care settings are a necessary part of our medical world. Americans rely heavily on the 24 hour access to care provided by emergency departments, AD visits have increased by 22% over the past decade. Before you require the emergency care that both emergency rooms and urgent care centers provide, ensure that you have an approved urgent care center in mind. Evaluate things like specialized services, insurance coverages, location, hours of availability, and diagnostic imaging and laboratory services.