What Is The Difference Between A Walk-In Clinic And An Urgent Care Center?

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Emergency rooms charge upfront fees for routine ca

Maintaining good health is necessary for a happy life. If you are still trying to figure out a form of insurance that suits your budget, you may want to seek out the nearest walk in clinic in the meantime so you’re not without care. Walk in clinics are prime resources for people of all shapes and sizes, providing basic care from medical tests, flu shots, check-ups and more. Likewise, urgent care centers are a necessary component for minor to moderate illnesses and injuries that would be too expensive to treat at a hospital. If you’re a little confused about the difference between all these different resources, read below for a crash course on healthcare in the United States.

How Many Clinics Are There?

The United States alone has over 6,800 urgent care centers and walk in clinics, the majority of which are located in freestanding buildings. Originally the urgent care movement began back in the 1970′s, growing exponentially around the world as a result. Studies have shown two-thirds of centers employing a mixture of physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, with 65% of all clinics having a physician on-site at all times. With a hefty population and a wide variety of illnesses and injuries to treat on a daily basis, the nearest walk in clinic is a must for any family or individual.

What Do Clinics And Urgent Care Centers Provide?

While walk in clinics and urgent care locations share some similarities to your standard hospital, they are also markedly different. They are frequently used for more minor injuries and illnesses, as well as time-sensitive issues that can’t wait for a scheduled meeting with a doctor. Some of the services provided by walk in clinics include, but are not limited to — flu shots, cheap STD testing, pediatric care, stitches, allergy medication and medical tests.

What Are Common Illnesses?

The season is getting colder, which means a host of common illnesses are going to start cropping up and requiring the resources of the nearest walk in clinic. On average anywhere from 5% to 20% of Americans will come down with the flu on a yearly basis — compare to the common colds, of which there are an estimated one billion outbreaks annually. The average child will catch between six and 10 colds per year, with the illness spreading easily through shared objects, constant sneezing and a lack of awareness around hand washing.

What Are Common Injuries?

Compare to minor injuries, many of which aren’t severe enough for an ambulance but are painful enough to require immediate medical attention to ensure the condition doesn’t worsen. Studies have shown there are approximately seven million bones broken in the United States every year. The typical emergency department visit can cost around $1,500 — compare to treatment at an urgent care, which costs an average of under $150. A study conducted by the Rand Corporation back in 2010 found that nearly one in five visits to the ER could have been treated at an urgent care center, saving as much as $4 billion in healthcare costs.

Which Option Is Right For Me?

Healthcare comes in many different forms. It’s important to know the difference between your standard hospital, an urgent care center and a walk in clinic if you want your needs accurately resolved all days of the year. To get your basic care covered, visiting the nearest walk in clinic will help you with check-ups, shots and prescribed medications accordingly. Should you twist an ankle or receive a burn, an urgent care center can treat you in a time-sensitive manner. Last, but not least, if the issue is life-threatening and immediate you need to call an ambulance. For your everyday and basic needs, your nearest walk in clinic should become your next best friend.

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