From the ER and Urgent Care Center to going to your general care practitioner’s office, there are many ways to seek medical treatment here in the United States. Unfortunately, that does not necessarily make medical care all that accessible to the average person. For someone without insurance, the ER and Urgent Care options are often the only ones with any viability, as they will not easily be able to be seen by an general car practitioner, even for a minor medical concern.
When we look at the option of the ER and Urgent Care, however, it is important that we compare and contrast their benefits and detriments, the pros and the cons. So what is the difference between emergency room and urgent care? What is similar between the ER and Urgent Care? First let’s look at the similarities, of which there are plenty. The ER and Urgent Care both provide emergency care to patients who have not scheduled an appointment and both are open the general public, making them accessible to those who do not have medical insurance. The ER and Urgent Care are also both open more frequently than the typical doctor’s office, with the emergency room typically open twenty four hours of the day. Urgent care centers will be open less frequently but are still typically open all seven days of the week (in around eighty five percent of urgent care locations) and are usually open earlier in the morning and later into the evening than the vast majority of typical doctor’s offices.
However, there are many differences between the ER and Urgent Care as well, and these must also be taken into account when you are deciding where you should seek medical treatment. The typical urgent care location, for instance, is likely to have a much shorter wait time than the typical emergency room, in which it is common to weight upwards of forty five minutes – even up to an hour or more. In more than ninety percent of urgent care clinics, on the other hand, weight times are, on average, no longer than thirty minutes. By the time that you have been at an urgent care clinic for a full hour, it is likely that you have already been seen, treated, and are on your way out. The amount that you will pay is also drastically different between the ER and Urgent Care. While you will typically only pay just over two hundred dollars or less when you are seen in an urgent care center, it is much different in the typical emergency room, where you will often pay more than one thousand dollars for a visit of a similar nature.
It is also necessary – and perhaps most importantly of all – to discuss the types of medical treatments that can be conducted at an ER and Urgent Care. While an urgent care center most often sees minor conditions (the most commonly seen illness was a respiratory infection of some nature and the most common treatment involved wound repair), many are more capable of treating serious conditions than the average person realizes. In fact, less than five percent of all cases seen in the typical walk in clinic ever need to be transferred to a hospital, and it is estimated that as many as sixty percent of all cases seen in the emergency room could actually have been treated in an urgent care facility for a mere fraction of the cost. With eighty percent (four out of ever five) urgent care centers now fully equipped to diagnose and treat fractures, urgent care centers are more universal than many people realize. However, if you suspect that a medical condition is truly an emergency, it is still appropriate and advisable to go to an emergency room instead of an urgent care center.
The accessibility of medical care is incredibly important here in the United States, and without it we would not be able to seek treatment for medical conditions both small and large. The ER and Urgent Care provide very real options for seeking out medical care, but it is important to know which one to choose.