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What You Should Know About Urgent Care Centers

When faced with a health emergency or urgent condition, you have a few options to choose from for treatment, including freestanding ERs—such as Advance ER—or an urgent care center.

So which one should you choose? Like everything in life, each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few things you should know about urgent care facilities:

Limited Hours of Operation

While freestanding emergency rooms like Advance ER are open around the clock, most urgent care centers only accept patients during limited business hours. Unfortunately, emergencies can occur at all times of the day, and often happen in the middle of the night when urgent care centers are closed. When you’re faced with an emergency, the last thing you want to do is search for an urgent care’s hours of operation, only to find that they are closed. At a 24-hour emergency care center, you can spend less time searching and more time getting the treatment you need.

Insurance Limitations

Like freestanding emergency rooms, urgent care centers are much easier on the wallet than hospitals. However, not all urgent care facilities accept all types of insurance. This might mean you have to pay much more out of pocket. Contact your nearest urgent care center before arriving to see if they accept your insurance or head to an emergency room where you know all insurance is accepted.

Non-Private Treatment Rooms

Like most hospital emergency rooms, many urgent care clinics place all of their patients in one large room. Each is given his/her own bed sectioned off with a curtain. This can leave some patients feeling uncomfortable with the lack of privacy. Stand-alone emergency rooms such as Advance ER place every patient in a separate suite-like room where he/she can be treated privately and in as much comfort as possible. Waiting in your own germ-free zone is also a key consideration.

Level of Treatment

Urgent care clinics are designed to help treat minor symptoms, such as flu, food poisoning and minor cuts and burns, during the times when your primary care physician is unavailable. However, they are limited to just that. Urgent care centers are not equipped with the staff, equipment, and expertise to handle larger emergencies such as chest pain, severe abdominal pain, frequent migraines and major trauma. If you visit an urgent care center for treatment for any of these concerns, you will most likely be asked to visit an emergency room instead. In life-threatening emergencies where every second counts, this is precious time wasted. Advance ER is able to handle both the smaller symptoms and the more major ones. With in-house labs, X-rays, CT scans and pharmacy, your condition can be diagnosed and treated that much faster.

Urgent care facilities do offer many advantages including: lower costs than hospital ERs, convenience, and everyday medical attention when your doctor is unavailable. However, emergency care clinics such as Advance ER offer far more flexibility, availability, comfort, and ability to treat a much wider variety of cases.