Knowing when to use Urgent Care facility instead of the Emergency Room is important for both your health and your pocketbook.
With the rising costs of medical insurance and the complex intricacies of their corresponding copays, many people are trying to save as much money as possible on their healthcare, but they do not understand how to go about it.
When to Use Urgent Care Facility Instead of the Emergency Room
One easy way to save significant coinsurance funds is to know when going to an Urgent Care facility is more appropriate than spending much more of your time and money at an Emergency Room.
First and foremost, remember that when you chose an Urgent Care facility, you will probably not be seeing an MD.
Here is a link to help you decide when to use Urgent Care facility https://www.healthline.com/health/right-care-right-time/know-before-you-go
These centers are staffed mostly with physician assistants and nurse practitioners who are very knowledgeable but will likely call an ambulance if your illness is severe or complicated.
They are exceptionally good at treating minor health issues such as burns, rashes, x-raying, fractures, heat exhaustion, flu or food poisoning, for example.
This is an important part of knowing when to use urgent care facility instead of the Emergency Room.
However, if you think you are having a heart attack, you’ve broken a bone, are experiencing severe abdominal pain, any kind of head trauma call 911.
Another time it is important to know when to use an Urgent Care Facility is important is if a cut is causing a lot of blood loss, call 911.
If you feel that you cannot safely walk or drive, do not hesitate as it is definitely time to call 911.
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”.
The simple reason for this is because no one can correctly diagnose someone over the phone. Responsible medical professionals will want to see you in person.
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 quicker.
For not so serious issues many people can expect to get in and out of an urgent care center within half an hour. This makes knowing when to use Urgent Care facility a great time saver.
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. And who does not like to save time or money?
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.
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