When choosing to go to an urgent care center, know in advance that they will not diagnose you over the phone. No matter how you try to explain your symptoms to them over the phone, the answer will always be, “You need to come in” because no one can correctly diagnose someone over the phone. Also, if it is a visit that you can time, such as in the case of a physical for work or a sports team, try scheduling for late mornings on Tuesday and Thursday when you will likely be able to get in and out of a care center within half an hour. Also, according to an article in Prevention magazine in 2016, the average cost of visiting an Urgent Care center was $155 while the average bill for a visit to an Emergency Room was $1233. So if your medical needs are minor, there are significant savings in both time and money by choosing an Urgent Care center over an ER.
However, it is not uncommon for the staff at an Urgent Care facility to refer back to your primary care physician anyway. Your doctor is the one who should be keeping proper records of your health and any persistent conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure. For this reason, most Urgent Care centers will not refill prescriptions for these types of ailments because they want to make sure those types of conditions are being monitored correctly by a trained physician. So if you are looking to get a prescription refilled, an Urgent Care center is not the right place for you. As their name implies, they are there to handle immediate, urgent, and most importantly, short-term medical situations.