When it comes to finding quick and affordable care for the injured and ill, many people have begun to realize that emergency room care may not be necessary for every medical problem they and their loved ones experience. Instead, urgent care centers are becoming a preferred option for many due to their convenience, affordability and quality care for non-life-threatening injuries and illness. Recently, Maine became the latest state to benefit from these medical walk in clinics: the state welcomed its 23rd urgent care facility in late December.
Across the United States, the number of urgent care centers has reached an estimated 7,000 centers, and shows signs of continued growth: from 2009 to 2014, the urgent medical care industry grew 8%, and experts project that it will expand an additional 6% over the next five years. Many urgent care professionals believe that this is because they offer care for the injured and ill which is comparable to what a patient would receive at a hospital: when treating a broken bone, for example, urgent care doctors would splint the injury, perform an X-ray, prescribe painkillers and refer the patient to an orthopedic surgeon, just as a doctor in an emergency room would. The difference is that patients with more serious problems, such as a heart attack, will be transported to a hospital instead of treated onsite. Additionally, urgent care clinics are considerably less expensive and often take less time to treat patients due to shorter waiting times.
Because of these benefits, urgent care clinics have become a popular presence in many states, with Maine becoming only the most recent to take advantage of this new type of medical care. The state’s newest urgent care facility was opened in Scarborough in late December; while the staff says that business has been slow to start, they hope to reach an average of 30 patients a day. With clinics like the one in Scarborough prepared and eager to offer care to the injured and ill, it is no surprise that these medical centers have become so popular across the U.S. Have you ever visited an urgent care center?