Thursday, June 7, 2012

Making the Right Choice - Urgent Care or Emergency Room?

Unfortunately accidents happen to everyone at some point in their lives and having an emergency room or urgent care clinic close by is a good thing when the pain is intense or there is bleeding involved.
Most of us think of both as being the same thing and can be used interchangeably. Both are necessary when the medical attention is needed immediately, such as if your child gets hurt at school, you cut yourself at home, or a co-worker collapses while on the job. In these situations the first thing we think of is the emergency room, however, recently you can have some of the same services that you could have done at the hospital performed in an urgent care clinic. There are some major differences between the two types of emergency care.
When you are comparing the situations in the previous paragraph, the person who collapsed at work would probably be served best by the care in the emergency room over urgent care as it could be a heart condition that led to his collapse and these should get immediate treatment by a cardiologist which would be available in most hospitals that are attached to the emergency room. However, if the emergency is a broken bone or cut that may need a few stitches, an urgent care facility may be the best in those situations.
One of the main differences between an emergency room and a private clinic is that the clinic is able to create its own hours because it is privately owned, unlike a hospital that is funded by the government. This way it is able to help a patient in an emergency situation when their regular doctor office is closed.
Another major difference between the urgent care clinic and the emergency room is the cost. Most hospitals are required to provide emergency attention to someone whether they can pay for it or not; therefore, the hospital often charges insured patients more so that they can recover some of their losses, which is why you may see a 200 dollar bandage, which may normally cost around 5.00 at the drug store.
Because the private clinic can refuse service to patients who do not have insurance, they are able to keep costs down. Often the physicians who choose to practice at these clinics will also charge less so that the bills won't be too shocking later. They will also only be handling one trauma situation at a time so your wait time will be less.
Depending on your emergency and your need, you can get the care you need right when you need it at your urgent care clinic.

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