If you are injured, you might ask, do I have to go to the emergency room? Going to the emergency room can take a long time and might result in a large bill. It can be difficult to define emergency care and whether or not you need it. However, if you need help but it isn’t an emergency, most communities have urgent care centers where you can get treated while paying significantly less money. Do you need to make an appointment for urgent care? It depends on the specific facility. Some might need an appointment for certain things, but others are walk-in. They are staffed by doctors and are good for things like cuts, mild illness, and vaccinations. When you wonder, “Do I need to go to the ER?”, there are a lot of factors that you are probably considering. And sometimes the ER will be the correct choice. But other times you just need to see a doctor quickly. So next time you wonder, “Do I need to go to the emergency room?”, you might also consider urgent care.
There are approximately 110 million emergency room visits every year. Americans tend to rely on having 24-hour access to the type of care provided by these departments; however, when the reasons for these visits are non-emergency in nature, these individuals could receive the attention they need at an urgent care center instead.
Truven Health Analytics, for example, reports that over 70% of the emergency room visits made by patients with consumer-sponsored insurance are non-emergency in nature. Their presenting conditions could easily be treated or prevented by visiting an outpatient facility.
Furthermore, a private study by Milliman showed that roughly 44% to 65% of emergency room situations could have been handled in an urgent care clinic. A RAND Corporation study conducted in 2009 also showed that 14% to 27% of emergency room visits could be treated in an urgent care center. If this were the case, they estimated that $4.4 billion a year could be saved in health costs.
While it does depend on a number of factors, the typical hospital emergency room visit will cost $2,039. When the same case is handled by an urgent care facility, it would typically cost $226. This is obviously a significant cost differential.
Patients do not need to wait as long to see a physician or other experienced medical practitioner at an urgent care facility. The American Academy of Urgent Care Medicine states that while waiting time will depend on the severity of a patient’s condition, 4.5 patients are usually seen by a physician every hour.
In addition to providing convenient medical treatment, an urgent care clinic also provides timely primary medical care. This includes comprehensive specialized pediatric care, treatment for minor injuries and illnesses, and advanced diagnostic and laboratory services. When comprehensive specialized pediatric care is needed, it’s important to note that this includes pediatric urgent and emergency care.
When a situation is life-threatening, it is necessary to go to a hospital emergency room. However, when the situation isn’t life-threatening. the best urgent care treatments and services are available with less waiting time and at a lower cost.