5 Things to Know Before Visiting an Urgent Care Center

Male doctor showing stethoscope for checkup. Close up of doctor hand holding stethoscope to auscultate breath. Doctor with stethoscope in hand on hospital background for medical visit.

If you’ve been injured or are sick, you want help quickly. Fortunately, many of us have a broad range of medical care options. You could see your primary care doctor, go to an emergency room or visit an Urgent Care center. With locations across the country, short wait times and great care, Urgent Care facilities are a great way to ensure your healthcare needs are met properly. Keep reading for a closer look at Urgent Care and what you should know before visiting one.

Urgent Care Center Wait Times Are Shorter

One of the great things about Urgent Care is the wait times. If you’ve been to an emergency room, you know how long the wait can be in those facilities. You’re looking at waiting at least an hour on average throughout the US, and ER wait times are increasing all the time. Every year, more than 140 million people visit emergency rooms across the US. That many visitors puts a strain on the system. At an Urgent Care center, your wait could be as little as 15 minutes. If you have a need that’s not immediately life-threatening, Urgent Care can get you in and seen by a medical professional quickly.

Urgent Care is Not the Same as an Emergency Room

While Urgent Care centers can accommodate a wide variety of medical needs, they are not necessarily a replacement for emergency rooms. Serious, life-threatening issues like a heart attack or childbirth are still best suited for an ER. If you’re in a situation where you feel you need the help of paramedics or an ambulance, it’s also best to simply call 911.

Understand Your Coverage and the Costs

Visiting an emergency room isn’t cheap. Even simple issues typically end up costing ER patients several hundred dollars or more, even with good insurance coverage. Depending on your insurance coverage, most visits to an Urgent Care facility will end up costing you far less than an emergency room.

A Wide Range of Services Are Available

Urgent care providers offer a wide range of services. Coverage extends well beyond what you might think.

Here are a few of the things covered by many Urgent Care facilities:

  • Ear infections
  • Treatment for a cold, the flu or a fever
  • Treatment of burns or cuts and bruises
  • Physicals for work or school
  • X-rays, EKGs and lab work
  • Treatment of sprains and fractures

Come Prepared

When you visit an Urgent Care provider, you’ll want to come prepared. Since you’re not visiting your regular doctor, you’ll need to bring any important, identifying documents with you. You may also want to bring applicable medical records or information.

Putting It All Together

Urgent Care centers are great places to get important healthcare needs met at an affordable price. Next time you’re thinking about visiting an emergency room, or calling up your primary care doctor at an odd time, consider visiting an Urgent Care provider. Coastal Urgent Care in Bossier is open seven days a week–day and night–and can meet many of your medical needs, both big and small. Stop by next time you’re in need of medical care.

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