When a decorative plate fell off a wall and onto a woman’s forehead, it left a deep gash on the side of her face. The woman then proceeded to go to an urgent care clinic, where she was seen almost immediately.
The medical staff gave her four stitches, which were taken out approximately one week later, no appointment necessary.
If this same mishap would have occurred just a few years ago, the injured woman would have had to visit her local hospital’s emergency room and most likely would have waited several hours to be treated. In addition to a long wait, the patient would have also left with a hefty bill, whereas she left the urgent care clinic with only having to pay a $20 co-pay.
Many Americans are discovering that they can receive quality, convenient, and affordable medical treatment for acutely occurring conditions at urgent care centers as opposed to hospital emergency rooms. Many hospitals are now converting to outpatient settings, and are even discouraging the use of their emergency departments for conditions that are not life threatening, all in an effort to deliver more affordable care.
The number of urgent care centers continue to rise steadily across the United States, as a number of venture capitalists, large health systems and even insurance companies see growing patient volume combined with cost-effective medical care driving strong returns on investment. In other words, business is booming with no signs of slowing down.
In a health care system plagued by a shortage of primary care physicians, urgent care centers are continuing to earn a reputation as the go-to place for fast, easy doctor visits. Even for patients who have primary care physicians, most centers offer extended evening and weekend hours that make them more convenient than many doctor’s office hours.
Also, urgent care centers are appealing due to their informal, friendly, neighborhood feel, which is a welcome relief to those in need of medical treatment, and much less intimidating than a hospital emergency room environment.
“Patients are just like you and I, they want the best quality product for the lowest price in a comfortable and accessible setting,” says Alison Hare, Branch Manager at Doctors Express Englewood. “This is exactly what we try to accomplish in our urgent care center,we ourselves attempt to provide the highest quality medical care in an accessible setting at a fraction of the cost of an ER.”
The Affordable Care Act has extended health insurance to millions, meaning more patients are now able to seek healthcare instead of delaying treatment due to an inability to pay. Now, more than ever, Americans are able to take control of their healthcare, and have a variety of treatment options to choose from.