When you are sick, you want to find the best care possible, as soon as you can. Trying to contact your general family doctor or primary care physician can be almost impossible, especially if you are calling after hours. Only about 20% of doctors in the U.S. offer after hours care, and many of them are booked out for weeks. The emergency room is usually out of the question, because if your illness is not life threatening, you will likely sit in the waiting room for hours.
In this case, a walkin medical clinic will be your best option. Walkin medical clinics are often staffed with physicians, certified nurses, and medical assistants that are qualified to take care of routine medical issues and small injuries, such as minor lacerations, sprains, the flu, ear infections, and allergic reactions among several others.
Many people are turning toward these health clinics instead of contacting their own doctors because of convenience and affordability. Walkin clinics are often open beyond normal business hours every day of the week, including weekends. Some clinics are even open 24 hours a day for the convenience of the general public. People can walk in without an appointment, and generally do not have to wait more than 20 minutes to be seen. The cost of a walk in clinic is also much less than the emergency room, and about the same as a patient would expect their co-pay to cost. For example, the average cost to treat an ear infection in the ER is anywhere from $550 to $750, whereas a walk in clinic will cost you about $59, according to Aetna. Even without insurance, the cost is much cheaper than the ER.
Walkin clinics are supporting the growing numbers of patients that are heading toward these medical facilities for health care. A 2013 Harris poll showed that more than a quarter of the 1,000 people surveyed said they had used a walkin clinic in the last two years, an increase of 7 percent from a poll taken in 2008. The Bureau of Economic Analysis also reported that health care expenses rose at about a 5.6% annual rate last quarter, making insurance more costly for consumers. This rise in insurance prices makes it more difficult for people to purchase coverage, which may be causing the influx of patients in walkin clinics and urgent care centers around the nation.
But even if patients have insurance and a physician they can contact, walkin medical clinics still afford more convenient care. Their accessibility makes them worth the trip, and they are fully staffed with medical professionals, making them a great first choice in dire situations that may not require emergency care.
So the next time you are sick with a flu or a stomach bug, you might want locate the nearest walk in clinic. The clinic will be able get you in and out quickly, and give you the medical care you need to feel better soon.
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