Oftentimes patients seek emergency services for conditions that are not life-threatening. In fact, RAND Corp. conducted a study in 2009 that reported 14 to 27% of emergency room visits could be handled by urgent care centers or retail clinics instead.
When patients seek medical attention at an emergency room, they run the risk of an over-inflated bill that does not reflect the cost of their treatment at a more suitable institution. RAND Corp. also said that the overall healthcare savings could amount to as much as $4.4 billion per year.
These numbers fluctuate depending on the study, of course. Milliman reported that 44 to 65% of all emergency visits could have been treated at urgent care, while Truven Health Analytics said that upwards of 70% of visits could have been taken care of at an urgent care clinic.
But no matter where you get your statistics, the trend is clear. Walk-in urgent care facilities provide the necessary treatments and services for more minor injuries and illnesses
that do not warrant a trip to the ER. By removing the wait from the ER, urgent care providers are able to give fast, reliable care for a fraction of the cost.
Because the U.S. healthcare system is so complex (and expensive), many people without insurance believe the emergency room is their only option for healthcare. In reality, walk in clinics are a practical and affordable option for countless Americans.
The average patient will wait less than 15 minutes at at least 60% of urgent care centers. Not only that, but 65% have a physician on the premises at all time. When alternative care is available at this magnitude, more people will see the fault in visiting the wrong facility. The number of walk-in, stand-alone urgent care centers in the United States amounts to about 9,300, with 50 to 100 new clinics opening every year.
Since most primary physician offices are closed by 5 p.m., urgent care provides an option to treat minor injuries and illnesses before or after business hours. In 2014, 97% of urgent cares were open seven days per week, and 99% are open for at least four hours every day.
However, some medical problems aren't so black and white, and patients aren't sure whether to hit the ER or urgent care center. For cases like these, Legacy ER and Urgent Care
is able to provide both emergency and urgent care services on-site, and will not charge you for unnecessary care. By having both services under one roof, you will avoid unnecessary travel and expenses.