A doctor's appointment, be it for a yearly check-up or a bout of the common cold, requires you to be informed of your medical history, among other things. You wouldn't visit your primary care physician without being prepared, so why go into an urgent care clinic for emergency services without being prepared?
There are many things that people tend to overlook when they visit urgent care, but this guide will help you avoid those mistakes.
Know Your Insurance Policy
Before you go to any medical appointment, you should know your insurance policy. If you're not covered for a visit to urgent care, then you're out of luck when it comes time to pay the bill. If you're not aware of what your insurance policy covers, you need to double check. Urgent care co-pays are generally much less than those of emergency services, but it never hurts to check.
Don't Forget Your Prescription
Contrary to popular belief, an urgent care facility can't refill a prescription for any chronic condition. If you're on medication that was prescribed to treat a specific condition, you need to take the issue up with your primary care physician. An urgent care clinic, while averaging seven treatment rooms and the ability to treat a variety of conditions, doesn't know your medical history and generally will not refill such a specific prescription. Always be truthful and forthcoming about your medical history when speaking with urgent care providers, just like you would with any other doctor (we hope).
Urgent Care Isn't an Emergency Room
This is perhaps the biggest and most frequent mistake that people make. An urgent care center, while able to treat some of the conditions that an emergency room handles, does not deal with life-threatening injuries or illnesses. Unless an urgent care center is associated with a specific hospital, it shouldn't be treated as an emergency room for any reason. If you sustain a life-threatening injury, you should call 911 or visit an emergency room immediately. However, if you're suffering from minor injuries and illnesses such as a cold, a simple sprain, lacerations, or even a sinus infection, you can by all means utilize urgent care services for treatment.
Urgent care services are designed to help you out in a pinch. If your doctor's office is closed for the day and you need to seek immediate treatment for minor injuries and illnesses, urgent care clinics are the most convenient and affordable way to go.