Frequently Asked Questions About Urgent Care Centers

Urgent care centers are popping up rapidly, as they are gaining in popularity. However, if you have never used one of these care centers in lieu of your primary care physician or visiting an emergency room, you may have questions about them. Here are a few of the questions you may be wondering about urgent care centers.

What Are the Benefits of an Urgent Care Center?

Urgent care centers are gaining in popularity. This is because there are many benefits to using one of these centers when you are not feeling well or are injured.

One of the biggest benefits to using an urgent care center is convenience. The majority of urgent care centers allow you to walk into the center, without an appointment, and be seen by a medical professional quickly. If you are trying to make an appointment with your doctor and they can't get you in, an urgent care center is a great alternative.

Another benefit to urgent care centers is that they often have later hours than traditional doctors offices. They are often open evenings and weekends. If your child gets sick on the weekend, you may agonize over whether to take them to the emergency room or not. However, emergency rooms are overcrowded and not really intended for minor illnesses. But, if your child is in pain, it can be hard to wait until Monday when the doctors office opens. Due to the extended hours, an urgent care center allows you to get treatment without having to go to the emergency room.

The cost of the appointment is another advantage to urgent care centers. Urgent care centers often accept many different insurance plans to make it convenient for people to visit. If they take your insurance plan, it is likely that your co-pay will be comparable to a doctors visit. If you do not have insurance, urgent care centers often cost less than a traditional doctors office visit, and far less than you would pay going to the emergency room.

The last major benefit to urgent care centers is they treat a wide array of minor illnesses and injuries. Urgent care centers can treat you for an ear or throat infection, stitch up a cut, take x-rays, diagnose a rash, treat allergic reactions, and diagnose and treat signs of colds, the flu and other common illnesses. Additionally, many urgent care clinics offer physicals and immunizations.

Does Going to an Urgent Care Center Interrupt My Coordinated Care With My Current Doctor?

If you are seeking treatment at an urgent care center, you may worry that it will interrupt your coordinated care with your doctor. This is a common concern, as the urgent care center may not share medical records with your doctor. However, it is important to note that it is estimated that roughly only 2.5 percent of urgent care visits were for chronic or psychological conditions that required routine follow-up. This means that roughly 97 percent of those visiting an urgent care center were for conditions that were not ongoing and did not need follow up care with your primary care physician. If you develop an ear infection or need stitches for a cut, it is not going to affect the care your primary care doctor gives you for ongoing medical issues, as these items are treated and go away. But, if you would like for your physician to have a copy of all of your medical records, you can request a copy of the report at an urgent care center and give it to your primary doctor at your next appointment, so he is aware of the visit and what was treated.

If you, a loved one or a spouse are not feeling well, but can't get in to see your doctor, an urgent care center is a great way to get the medical attention you need. Getting answers to the questions you have about these centers will help you understand how they work and can be beneficial. This will help you decide if it is ideal for you and your medical needs.