In most areas, even rural communities, it seems like urgent care centers are popping up on every corner. When considering health care options, urgent care centers, can provide what most patients need to get back on track with their day-to-day life. In fact, urgent care centers are a flexible and low cost answer to strongly consider opposed to emergency rooms and when your doctor’s office is closed or unable to get you in. However, with the increasing number of options, how do you know which urgent care to visit?
With 7,500 urgent care centers already open across the nation and an estimated 500 opening each year, according to the Urgent Care Association of America, individuals and families seeking care may wonder what the differences are between each of them. Accreditation is not always needed for these centers, but it is highly recommended to find one that is certified, either through the Urgent Care Association of America or a similar organization. This certification has standards which need to be met, like having extended hours or certain services provided, but also require a site visit to ensure safeguards and procedures are in place. Additionally, Laurel Stoimenoff, the CEO of the Urgent Care Association of America, advises, “You don’t have to be accredited. But we’re seeing now that some health insurance payers are requiring accreditation.”
Urgent Care vs. Emergency Room
The rapid growth of urgent care centers across the nation can be attributed to the rise in need for the services urgent cares provide. For non-life-threatening emergencies, most urgent cares are a faster and less expensive option for most. Instead of waiting for hours in a crowded emergency room waiting room, urgent care centers can see patients in a fraction of the time. Less overhead and infrastructure also leads to reduced costs without sacrificing the level of care. These centers offer a variety of services, including quality care, testing, and accessibility to prescriptions when needed. Additionally, an urgent care center can step in when a primary care physician is unavailable due to their appointment load or office hours.
Questions to Ask
Potential patients will want to ask if their urgent care center is affiliated with a specific hospital or medical network, for both insurance purposes and if referrals are needed. Another important question to keep in mind relates to the hours offered and how appointments work within those hours, having a walk-in option is a benefit needed by many patients. Additionally, knowing what services an urgent care offers both in regards to testing and to who is on staff can be helpful in making a decision. If you suspect a bone is broken, finding an urgent care with x-ray services is vital, similarly, comprehensive care is provided when a doctor is on the clock at all times.
The Integrity Difference
Integrity is committed to being the best urgent care center in each area we serve. We are open, with no appointment needed, from 8 am to 8 pm every day of the week and are proud of our highly skilled and experienced care providers. Integrity accepts most major insurance carriers, but also provides competitive self-pay rates, usually charging 1/10th the cost of a similar emergency room visit. Our list of services is extensive and every location can complete labs and x-ray imaging with the ability to order larger imaging needs like MRI, CT, or ultrasounds.
Integrity Urgent Care is ready to serve you and your family. We hold the medical needs of our community at heart and want to see you healthy and thriving. Find the Integrity location closest to you and come see us today.