Primary care physicians and pediatricians play an essential role in your family's healthcare, but there may be times when the office is closed or you can't get an appointment when you or your child need medical attention. There are some situations where you should head straight to the emergency room at your local hospital, such as if you are experiencing chest pain, can't breathe, are bleeding profusely, or have a serious injury that may require surgery. But many ailments, such as high fevers, strep throat, ear infections, muscle sprains, and small wounds that need sutures, can easily be treated at an urgent care center. There are several reasons to choose an urgent care over the emergency room, including:
When it comes to medical care, getting treatment at an emergency room will most likely be substantially more expensive than treatment at an urgent care. This fact is especially important for families that have high deductible insurance plans, as you can end up being stuck with a huge bill if you visit the emergency room for an ailment that could have been treated at an urgent care center for a fraction of the price. Even if you don't have a high deductible health insurance plan, some insurance companies may charge higher co-pays when you receive treatment in an emergency room. When in doubt, try visiting an urgent care center--the medical professionals there will refer you to the emergency room if you need treatment that can't be performed in an urgent care.
Shorter Wait Times
Unfortunately, many people visit the emergency room in situations that are not actually emergencies, which can lead to a backlog of patients and a very long wait time. Not to mention the fact that people with life threatening ailments or injuries who arrive by ambulance or another mode of transportation are treated ahead of people with less serious medical problems. This can result in having to sit in a waiting room for hours before you are even seen by a medical professional. When you or your child is sick or hurt, the last thing you want is to have to spend an extended amount of time in a waiting room. Most urban areas have many more urgent care centers than emergency rooms, so the wait times are typically substantially shorter. This allows you to get medical attention in a more timely manner so you can go home and rest if you are sick.
Same Level of Care
Urgent care centers are staffed by nurses, physicians, nurse practitioners, and physicians' assistants. For non-emergencies, you will receive the same level of care for something like a sprained ankle or strep throat at an urgent care center as you would in an emergency room. All of the staff at an urgent care clinic are very qualified and licensed to provide medical treatment for non-life threatening medical problems.
Contact a center like West Ocean City Injury & Illness Center to learn more.