If you have had to make a run to the emergency room lately, you know just how expensive they can be. The average cost of an emergency room visit is about $1,500. Did you know that the same visit to a convenient care center runs about $150?
So just exactly what is a convenient care or medical urgent care center? These are medical clinics that have urgent care hours that work on a 24 hour a day basis and provide care for medical situations that may not need a full emergency room visit. These can include gastrointestinal issues, strains and sprains and the like. According to regulations set down by the Urgent Care Association of American, an urgent care center must provide on site diagnostic services that include X rays and phlebotomy.
Because they are open 24 hours, you can get medical assistance when your regular doctor may not be available. Almost two thirds of these convenient care centers employ a mix of doctors, nurse practitioners or physicians assistants. Nearly 65 percent of these convenient care centers have at least one doctor on site at all times. There are nearly 9,000 convenient care centers in the United States, with that number continuing to grow. In fact, convenient care centers account for approximately $14 billion in annual revenue in the United States.
In addition to the medical issues mentioned, many convenient care centers also provide routine lab services, routine physical exams, and vaccinations. This means you have a very convenient place to get routine medical procedures that may not require a visit to your regular doctor. If you do visit a convenient care facility for an illness, you may still want to follow up with your regular physician.
Again, a convenient care center can also be great at saving money. When you look at the figure for an average ER visit, compared to a visit to an urgent care facility, it only makes sense to use a urgent care facility. Also, in many cases you will find that the wait time at one of these clinics will be much shorter than at an emergency room.
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