Knowing Your Options Other Places to Go Instead of the Emergency Room

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Most of us are guilty of not taking our health seriously enough. Regular checkups seem like a hassle and an unnecessary cost if you’re perfectly healthy. Why bother? However, family health care is is extremely important and finding good family care providers who already know your medical history can be extremely useful in an emergency situation or if you have an illness bad enough to go to the emergency room or hospital. For those who really can’t afford healthcare or who only use it infrequently, alternatives are developing — family quick care, an emergency walk in clinic, and free STD testing centers are among the examples of flexible healthcare that’s trying to work with the everyday American. Your local community health clinic may provide more localized services that you would get at your doctor’s office for a minimal amount of money. So while it’s important to have a primary care physician, these other resources can also be utilized on a regular basis as well.
What’s Family Quick Care and Why Is It So Useful?
Family quick care facilities aim to lower your healthcare costs by getting rid of the insurance middleman. Average costs can be under $50 for a health care visit. If you have insurance though, you’ll get a receipt you can provide your insurance with to get reimbursed. For things like a UTI, bronchitis, sinus infections, strep throat, the flu, and other more common illnesses, family quick care offers inexpensive but high quality services for a fraction of the cost. They’re usually walk in only, with no appointment ahead of time necessary and have a significantly smaller wait time than emergency rooms.
Why Isn’t the Emergency Room Always the Best Place to Go?
The first instinct always seems to be heading to the emergency room, although it frustrates both the patients who go there and health care officials. A good number of the cases in the emergency room don’t actually need to be there and undergo long wait times as a result, when they could have sought cheaper and faster treatment elsewhere.
Between 2003 and 2009, the average wait time in an emergency department (often abbreviated ED) went up 25% — from around 46 minutes to 58 minutes. Additionally, in 2009, around 80% of emergency department visits reported that patients had been put up in hallways or other areas in the hospital while they waited for an inpatient bed to free up. Clearly, overcrowding and space is an issue — and the fix isn’t necessarily to make hospitals larger. The costs of going to the emergency room can also be prohibitive, with the average price tag of one or more visits ringing in over $1,300 in 2009, says the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. The typical cost was over $600. Ouch!
Why Should I Go to Urgent Care Versus the Emergency Room?
For one thing, the cost of going to urgent care instead of going to the emergency room is around three times as much. While emergency rooms are a useful “catch-all” (they can indeed treat any case), you pay a much higher bill and often wait significantly longer. Of course, if you have a serious emergency, you should dial 911 right away and go to the emergency room. These types of emergencies include being unconscious, heart attacks/strokes, broken bones, heavy bleeding, and head injuries.
Urgent care facilities are meant to handle non-life threatening cases. If you have the flu or a bad cold, a high fever, minor injuries, scrapes, or burns, or a high fever, urgent care is probably the best place to head. Their hours are usually very flexible and some can even be 24/7. They also usually accept a wide range of insurances, so you don’t have to worry about paying a high cost. Overall, you’re likely to get seen faster and spend less when you visit an urgent care center.
It’s important to know your options. While the healthcare system may seem overwhelming and bewildering to you, know that family quick care or urgent care centers are alternative options to going to the emergency room in a serious situation.

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