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If you don’t have a primary physician, where do you go when immediate care is needed? If it’s a potentially life-threatening issue, such as complications associated with pregnancy, a severe burn or allergic reaction, stroke, or heart attack, you should go to the hospital emergency room. However, when the immediate care you need is not life-threatening, you can go to an urgent care facility.

If you’re not familiar with urgent care clinics, then you may be interested to know that almost 2/3 of these centers have different types of practitioners on staff. These include physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants.

In addition to being open every day of the week all year long, these centers are usually open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Waiting time is less than at a traditional emergency department. Even though you can walk in without an appointment, you are also able to register online prior to handling paperwork when you arrive.

The cost of an urgent center appointment is also considerably less than with a hospital emergency room visit. Hospitals will generally charge an average of $1,5000, while an urgent care clinic will charge under $150.00, on average.

Given that people in the United States come down with about 1 billion colds every year, and the average child may have 6 to 10 colds during the year, knowing there is a convenient local alternative can bring considerable relief. This is especially the case when a physician determines you have a bacterial infection rather than a cold or the flu. In this case, they would be able to provide you with a prescription for antibiotics at their facility.

While prescriptions for other types of medication can be filled on-site, this doesn’t pertain to medications for chronic conditions. If you have a chronic condition that calls for medication, if the physician determines that you need a specific medication, they will likely call it in to a local pharmacy.

In addition to receiving diagnosis and treatment for a variety of illnesses and accidents, urgent care clinics provide preventative care, annual check-ups, and other services:

  • Lab tests
  • Vaccinations
  • STD testing
  • Digital X-rays

The next time you need immediate or another type of non-emergency care, visit an urgent care facility rather than a hospital emergency room. During your first appointment, you will likely realize the benefits of choosing this type of care facility. Furthermore, the walk in clinic you choose may become your primary source of care.