Every week, more than 3 million Americans visit their nearest urgent care clinic. More than half have been open for seven years or longer, and the typical medical walk in clinic stays open seven days a week. With 6,400 clinics across America, parents of infants and toddlers who wish to avoid a pediatric emergency room visit may find that they are able to get equivalent treatment at their nearest walk in clinic.
Walk in clinics usually offer a surprising range of treatments, from fracture care to flu shots, and parents of young children with ear infections should be able to find knowledgeable local doctors at their nearest walk in clinic. Ear infections, often caused by bacteria, can be especially frustrating for children who have not yet learned to talk.
If parents notice that their children are sleepy, pulling or poking at their ears, or seem to have a sudden loss of hearing, they might want to visit a pediatric emergency room or their local medical clinic. There are over 20,000 doctors in the field of urgent care; although about four out of every five walk in clinics is located in a suburban area, city dwellers should have a local urgent care clinic nearby.
Pediatric emergency room visits may be dwindling while urgent care visits increase, but parents whose children are covered by health insurance can still choose either one. Parents typically report that they prefer speedier visits with a lower co-payment or deductible. For parents of infants and toddlers with ear infections or upper respiratory ailments, a walk in clinic visit that takes less than an hour may be preferable to a pediatric emergency room where visits often take several hours.
Typically, the cost of an urgent care visit hovers at around $150: doctors who are trained in medical center emergency room methodologies can visit with and treat up to eight patients an hour, experts report. Parents of young children may also choose to take their children to walk in clinics because they anticipate a calmer, quieter environment.
With the cost of urgent care visits stable at about one-tenth of the cost of a pediatric emergency room, parents may continue to patronize their local walk in clinics for routine childhood maladies like ear infections, gastrointestinal distress, and sports-related fracture care.