Options To Emergency Rooms – Urgent Care
Emergency Healthcare is a common thread for all Americans. At some point in your life, you or a family member will need some sort of emergency care. Whether its a broken bone, a nail in your foot or a soar throat, everyone needs emergency health care at some point in their life. For decades, we have only had one choice to receive the medical service that we needed in an emergency. That was the dreaded visit to the Emergency Room of your local hospital.
Hospital Emergency Rooms
For decades, if you need to see a doctor and didn’t have time to wait for an appointment with your primary care provider or family doctor, you would visit the emergency room of your local hospital. Although well equip to handle emergencies, many emergency rooms function out of necessity. Hospitals historically loose money on their emergency rooms, but are forced to have one. For a hospital, the ER has been a drain on their financial bottom line. This comes from the fact that many people that visit the ER for emergency are uninsured or insured by Medicaid. This has become more and more of an issue considering the skyrocketing prices of insurance. With the laws stating that anyone who visits an emergency room must be stabilized by the ER staff, this means that although the hospital has an ER, they are generally NOT a revenue generator for the hospital. Considering the facts, many ERs today make conscious decisions to not be “the best emergency care around”. This has lead to a decrease in patient care and convenience.
Urgent Care’s Enter the Picture
In the last decade, we have seen an alternative to hospital emergency rooms. Urgent Care Clinics have been popping up all over the United States. Urgent Care Facilities offer immediate care for emergency health needs, while focusing not on major illnesses, but on what makes up the majority of the visits to an emergency room. With the declining focus from hospital administrators on administering emergency care, this had led to the explosion of Urgent Care facilities. Urgent Care’s have some distinct advantages for providing emergency health services.
Urgent Care Provides Lower Costs
Because an Urgent Care does treat major illnesses, they do not need to purchase many of the extraordinarily expensive medical equipment that is needed in a full hospital. In addition, an urgent care does not need to have the same real estate footprint that a hospital does. This means that an urgent care can be in a relatively small office, with substantially less overhead. The lack of major medical expenses lets an urgent care facility be able to provide patient care for emergency visits at a substantially lower cost.
Urgent Care Provides Convenience
Because of the smaller building, focusing ONLY on emergency health needs, Urgent Care facilities can be located all over the city. The lower up front costs to open the clinic gives the ability to open smaller, more conveniently located clinics. For the patient in need of emergency heal care, this means that you will most likely now have an Urgent Care Clinic located very close to you.
Focus on Quality Emergency Care
Because the Urgent Care only deals with emergencies, they can focus their treatment options for the most common visit. And because their business model mandates that the patient have a good experience, they are more apt to deliver quality patient care. Where a full blown hospital has their ER out of necessity, an urgent care focuses specifically on those types of patient visits, and has a financial incentive to make the patient happy. As an added benefit, we have seen some Urgent Care Facilities partner with home healthcare companies for longer term health issues.
Urgent Care Facilities Are Here To Stay
With the success of modern urgent care facilities we expect more and more people to utilize their services. Hospitals, although seeing an increase in competition, are happy to alleviate some of the traffic to their emergency rooms. This creates a perfect storm for more urgent cares to start delivering quality health care throughout the US. If you currently don’t have an urgent care in your city, expect to see one soon.