Where Do You Go When You Have a Healthcare Need After Normal Office Hours?


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It was a sudden trip to the closet of the towns urgent care facilities. But then again, most trips to urgent care facilities are sudden. You may wait two, three, or four hours before you go, but once you decide to make the trip it is often sudden. On this particular trip you were going in to the mobile health clinic because your daughter had some unusual swelling from what looks like a spider bite.
Of course, your daughter did not show you the swelling until after dinner on a Monday night. With a house full of company expected at your house by Tuesday morning, the timeline for getting the bit checked out was a little tight, plus you did not want to risk the swelling to get worse overnight. And those are the details that let to this sudden trip to one of the only urgent care facilities still open that evening.
Low Cost Health Clinics Provide Convenient, Knowledgeable, Affordable Care
As the politicians of Washington, D.C. continue to debate the plans for the nation’s healthcare, the rest of us still have to figure out where we will take our daughters when a spider bite swells far more than it should. We are left to decide between an expensive trip to an emergency room or the health clinic for children down the street when we think that our son needs to have his arm x-rayed.
The turmoil of the current health care bill is constant fodder for the media and serves as a talking point for every politician. The rest of us, however, do not deal in canned phrases and name calling. We simply have to make the daily health care decisions about where we are going to get the care that we need. Although there was a time when the only choice was between getting an appointment at office of the family physician or paying the expensive fees of a hospital emergency room, today’s health care platform is more diverse. With a growing number of urgent care facilities, consumers can now make more affordable choices, including many walk in clinics. Without the need for an appointment, these quick clinics are growing increasingly popular. The fact that they are also far less expensive than the hospital emergency room makes these health clinics even more attractive.
As the nation looks for ways to serve the largest number of people who have ever had insurance, one answer seems to be the walk in health clinic option. Staffed with qualified staff members, these urgent care centers provide everything from STD testing kits to x-rays. Consider some of these other statistics about the growing number of health care clinic options:

  • The average ER visitor pays total costs of $1,318 and a mean cost of $615, according to the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. A health clinic visit, however, is far more affordable. In fact, some clinics even post their fees for the most common services on their website, so there are far fewer unexpected charges than when compared to the emergency room care prices.
  • The mean wait time in ERs went up by 25% between the years 2003 and 2009. This means that while the mean wait time in 2003 was 46.5 minutes, it increased to to 58.1 minutes by the year 2009. Walk in clinics, on the other hand, are far more efficient in serving patients. The most challenging part of the an ER visit, of course, is that it is very likely you will have to wait while a patient with more serious injuries is seen first.
  • Under the current Affordable Care Act more Americans have access to preventative health care. And while the goal is that these newly insured will be able to avoid expensive emergency room care or chronic health conditions, in the immediate future this means that the nation is going to need far more physicians. In fact, the U.S. will need about 52,000 more primary care physicians by the year 2025 to meet predicted healthcare needs, according to current data.
  • Urgent care clinic settings provide patients with qualified and affordable care options in a convenient no appointment format. Where do you go when you need medical care?

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