Did you know that more than 50 percent of emergency room visits could have been safely treated at an urgent care facility? We know what you’re thinking—that’s a lot.
It is a lot—and there are a few reasons why this happens. For many years, through various forms, we have been taught to dial 9-1-1 or to get to a hospital when there is an unexpected medical need—emergency or not. However, today there are more options for medical care than ever before.
Emergency departments are meant to accommodate life-threatening medical situations such as heart attacks, strokes or serious car crash victims. Urgent care is the treatment of non-life-threatening illness and injuries such as sprained ankles, cuts requiring stitches or sinus infections. Emergency departments and urgent care centers are not meant to compete, but to complement each other. If people utilize both options properly, the emergency department will not be over-crowded and therefore be able to better accommodate and treat those patients in critical need of medical attention. Additionally, going to an urgent care center benefits the patient by being more timely and cost-effective as it is likely more affordable than an emergency room visit.
So, how do you know when urgent care is the right option? Here are three scenarios that would be a good fit for an urgent care center.
- It’s a Sunday afternoon and you realize your cat may have fleas and opt to give it a bath. The cat, who hates water, fights you on this endeavor and bites you out of animal instinct.
- Jack, your 10-year-old little league star, has practice Wednesday after school. When you pick him up he walks to the car with a big shiner—right on the left eye. He seems ok, but you want to get it checked out just to be sure.
- You’re at work and get a call from your husband saying he has a sore throat and an incredible fever. You suggest he calls his doctor to get checked out even though you suspect he’s being a big baby. He tells you he already called and can’t get in until next week.
- Urgent care centers are also a great option if you need to be seen sooner than your primary care provider can see you, but urgent care is not meant to replace the ongoing relationship you have with your regular doctor.
Next time you’re faced with a medical situation that isn’t an emergency, consider visiting your nearest urgent care center. ClearChoiceMD urgent care centers are located all over Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. With facilities all over New England you don’t need to travel far to have your medical needs met.