Making the Case: Why Urgent Care Matters for Today's Patient

02/26/2013

The cost of health care is on the rise and when unexpected things that involve your health happen, it can make a major impact into your finances if you aren’t prepared. With fewer primary care physicians available and an estimated 46 million Americans living without insurance coverage, urgent care centers continue to rapidly grow bridging the gap between primary care and emergency room (ER) services.

Recently, Yahoo News Finance contributor Dalia Bose shared her most recent experience with an urgent care center for a minor injury. Bose bragged about the timeliness (she was seen and treated within 40 minutes), quality care, and most importantly—cost effectiveness of choosing an urgent care facility versus a trip to the ER. Bose also shared another story when she and her husband rushed her son to the ER for a crayon lodged into his nose. Three trips on different occasions, several doctors later, and a lack of adequate treatment, she and her husband were handed a bill of $1500. For situations such as these, urgent care centers become a viable option for individuals seeking to avoid a sudden financial burden, and receive immediate medical attention and treatment.

“Urgent care is gaining acceptance among consumers based on convenience, with extended evening and weekend hours, transparent pricing that’s affordable, and non-scheduled walk-in care for minor illnesses and injuries that can be treated quickly -- without the exhaustive waits and overcrowding of an emergency room.” said Bill Lewis, M.D., Concentra Senior Vice President of Medical Operations.

Major corporations that once operated as your local drug store have followed in the steps of urgent care medicine, but with a more limited scope of care. Immediate care options range from Minute Clinic at CVS stores, Take Care Clinic at select Walgreens to CareNow, PrimaCare and Concentra Urgent Care, even up to concierge medical services that deliver medical services to patients’ homes or workplace. The standard primary care models, when mixed with the complexity of major hospital systems, are no longer beneficial to the lives of busy individuals and families. But the value lies beyond just the medical care being given—it begins with the patient experience, the personalization of care and more importantly the cost associated.

As health care conversations continue to circulate amongst our elected officials, individuals are planning their survival map daily on how to navigate through a sinking economy, rising unemployment and unresolved solutions for affordable health care coverage. For that reason, urgent care centers present themselves as a solution for those who focus greatly on their finances, seek quality and affordable health care without having to place their health on the backburner.