A walk in clinic offers an alternative to hospital emergency rooms for less serious injuries and illnesses. However, many people are still not aware of this option and its advantages. Urgent care does not require an appointment, so services are provided at a quicker and more flexible pace. People who are uninsured may find this health care facility to be more affordable than other options.
A Clinic for Common Injuries
According to Shawn Evans, MD, an emergency medical physician, it’s common to see people go to the ER for after-hours care on minor injuries without realizing there is another option available.
A walk-in clinic is available for injuries that need immediate care but are not considered serious enough to warrant a visit to the emergency room. Most injuries that are treated at an urgent care center include minor burns, minor fractures, falls, accidents, infections, sprains, cuts, and common illnesses such as a cold or flu. Many clinics also provide diagnostic services that require the use of X-rays, and lab tests. A person should go to the emergency room or call 911 if their injury or illness is possibly life threatening or requires immediate attention, such as a serious head injury, or a possible heart attack or stroke.
More Flexible For Individual Needs
Accidents and illnesses can happen unexpectedly. Scheduling the next available time to see a physician is not always feasible. Due to the fact that an urgent care center is available on a walk-in basis, a person can seek immediate attention rather than wait for their doctor’s next available appointment. In fact, this is why the walk in clinic was established. The main objective is to fill a gap for when a person is sick or injured, but unable to reach their doctor. Also, a walk in clinic would have more flexible hours and can be open on weekends and in the evening. The waiting period at most urgent care centers also tends to be shorter. Since the services provided at an urgent care center tend to a less broad range of medical issues to treat, the average wait time is 15 to 45 minutes, compared to the 2.4 hour wait time in an emergency waiting room.
While the ER can provide sufficient care for any medical issue, it can leave a deep hole in many wallets, especially as the cost of healthcare continues to rise. For many people who are uninsured, a local walk-in clinic can provide quality care at a more affordable price. According to Cigna Medical Group, a person that visits the ER can expect to pay up to three times more than an urgent care center. While the cost of an ER visit can vary depending on the medical issue and treatment needed, a National Institute of Health study determined the average cost for a trip to the emergency room is more than $1,200. On the other hand, an uninsured person can visit an urgent care center for the same issue, receive quality care, and pay between $50 and $130 for the entire visit.