The next time you suddenly feel ill, and your general practitioner?s office is closed, look to your nearest emergency center to treat your symptoms. In the United States, there are approximately 9,300 stand-alone emergency centers, and 50-100 new clinics open every year. Because of the high demand for 24-hour care, there are currently 20,000 physicians who practice Urgent Care Urgent Medicine today, and that number continues to grow today. These medical professionals have developed Urgent Medicine into an important, recognized specialty that represents this fast-growing medical field.
With the growth in 24-hour medical care needs, there are three reasons why urgent care has become so popular in place of emergency room care.
Approximately 95% of patients are in and out of an urgent care facility within an hour.
- In 2011, the average urgent care center saw 342 patients per week with an increase of 28 additional patients per month due to efficiency and ability to move patients through facility quicker than an emergency department.
- Most emergency care centers have a wait time of less than 15 minutes to see a physician or mid-level provider and 65% of these centers have a physician on-site at all times.
- For those needing medical assistance ?after hours,? most emergency care centers operate seven days a week and are open at least four hours per day.
Less Expensive than Emergency Room Visits
- The average reimbursement for services rendered at an urgent care visit is approximately $103 per patient compared to $302 on average in a hospital emergency department visit.
- Urgent care clinics average seven to eight treatment rooms allowing for many patients to be seen and evaluated at once for the most time-efficient and cost-effective plan for the facility.
- The same case treated in an emergency room visit costs an average $2,039 compared to the same case treated in an emergency care center costing approximately $226, a definite monetary savings to both patient and insurance company.
With high quality and cost-effective medical care, medical staff and physicians in an emergency center treat patients with courteous attention and concern that bring patients into these facilities versus the emergency room where there are long waits and expensive hospital bills once treatment is complete.
- Urgent care physicians see an average of 4.5 patients per hour; however, this can vary depending on the severity of the patient?s condition.
- When a patient?s symptoms are not life-threatening, they are better served going to an emergency center for treatment where staff and physicians are focused on patient health and treatment.
When you are feeling under the weather and realize your primary care physician?s office is closed, don?t wait until the next day or worry that it?s the weekend. You now have another option, an emergency center that offers a cheaper and quicker option for healthcare instead of the emergency department.