Did you know that about half of patients who go to ER are there because they were not sick enough to be admitted to a hospital, but the office of their doctor was closed? What many people might not realize is that Urgent Care centers are another option for medical treatment.
There are several differences between Urgent Care and emergency rooms. Urgent Care locations are intended for injuries and ailments that are not serious enough that they require immediate medical attention. Emergency rooms, on the other hand, are good for people who do require immediate or intensive medical intervention.
A good rule of thumb is that medical Urgent Cares are for situations where you can go in yourself, and you expect to come back out on the same day. Urgent Care facilities treat conditions such as fractures, sprains, gastrointestinal issues, concussions, lacerations, and more. ERs treat conditions such as a patient having difficulty breathing, heavy bleeding, heart problems, et cetera.
Urgent Care costs are also one tenth that of ERs. Part of this is that people going to Urgent Care generally have less severe issues, and it also owes itself to the fact that ERs usually have higher insurance and rooming etc. costs to cover. A study by the Rand Corporation found that about 20 percent of ER visits could be treated at Urgent Care locations, and that doing so would save visitors up to 4.4 billion dollars collectively.
One advantage that ERs have over Urgent Care locations is that emergency rooms are almost always open around the clock. Although Urgent Cares are generally open much longer than the typical doctor office that closes at four or five, they do frequently have opening and closing times. There are, however, some Urgent Care 24 hours centers, so some people will have this as an option.
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