Emergency rooms are frequently packed with patients waiting for immediate care. Emergency room visits have risen to about 110 million per year. It makes sense that Emergency rooms are suffering from over crowding due to the increasing caseload of primary care physicians. Increased case loads means difficulty scheduling appointments, longer wait times, and decreased time spent with each patient.
When you really do not feel well, waiting for that doctors appointment can seem impossible. Only 29 percent of primary care doctors offer urgent care hours outside of regular office hours. With the average child catching up to ten colds a year, it is no wonder the ER is full.
Luckily, more and more after hours urgent care centers are popping up. These clinics are intended to ease emergency room congestion by treating non life threatening illnesses and injuries. This does not mean you have gotten out of scheduling that appointment with your regular doctor. Most walk in doctors require you to follow up with your primary care physician.
Not all urgent care facilities are the same, so call ahead or look at the website. Urgent care hours differ from one office to another. Ideally, 24 hour urgent care will be available at the closest urgent care to you. This may not always be the case. Before you leave home, call to make sure they do not close at some point during the night.
The benefits of immediate medical care are that, even if they are not open 24 hours, they are open outside regular doctors office hours. Most doctors offices are not open to patients on the weekends. Urgent care hours almost always include some weekend time. Check to see if you have an urgent care open on sundays near you.
Many people may find urgent care hours convenient, but are worried about the cost. The urgent care cost is usually similar to the cost of your primary care doctor. Most clinics accept major insurances and you will only have your regular copay. In comparison to the copay for an emergency room visit, this is typically more reasonable. If you are uninsured, call ahead and ask for their policies on uninsured patients.
Family urgent care centers are not a replacement for a regular doctor, but they do provide a great supplemental service. When you are feeling sick and cannot get into the doctor right away, keep in mind you can use these urgent care hours and services. You will be helping smooth out the heavy load on your primary care office and also relieving unnecessary crowds at the emergency room. More.