When there’s a medical emergency, you want to make sure you’re going to the best local urgent care center possible. Unlike a traditional doctor’s office, an urgent care center is able to see patients immediately and without the hassle of an appointment.
Knowing where to go for urgent care might seem like a tough choice to make, especially if you have several options — that’s why we’ve compiled this list of the five most important things to look for when choosing urgent care.
1. 24 hr urgent care: Most urgent care centers don’t provide 24 hr urgent care — about 70 percent of centers in the United States open before 8:00 a.m., and about 95 percent close after hours at 7:00 p.m. However, there’s no way to tell when a medical emergency might happen, which is why seeking out a 24 hr urgent care center is so important.
2. Physician-owned urgent care: About 50 percent of urgent care centers in the United States are owned by physicians. Some states have a ban on the corporate practice of medicine, which means that pursuing a physician-owned urgent care center is not only the legal thing to do, it will also result in better medical care.
3. Affordability: While most urgent care facilities in the U.S. accept health insurance as a means to cover payment, not all do. Be sure to check with a center about its insurance policies beforehand.
4. Low wait times: In the event of an emergency, sometimes you can’t afford to sit in a waiting room for an hour or more. Sixty-nine percent of urgent medical care centers have wait times of less than 20 minutes, 28 percent have wait times between 21 – 40 minutes and 3 percent have a more than 40-minute wait. It’s important to know how fast a center is in seeing patients.
5. Establishment: While urgent care centers began opening and becoming popular in the 1970s, they continue to be a popular investment and business choice. If you’re looking for a well-established center, try one of the 61 percent that have been in operation for more than five years. Read more about this topic at this link.