Almost 70% of primary care physicians do not offer after-hours care. This can create problems for parents when a family member is sick after hours. You don’t necessarily think you need to go to the emergency room, but you want to see a doctor. Or you work long hours and simply can't make it to the doctor during regular business hours. You need more options, which is where a family health clinic or urgent care center can help.
The vast majority of urgent care centers are open seven days a week. They open before 9 a.m. and most stay open until 7 p.m. at least. This provides families with more opportunities to see a doctor quickly and conveniently.
According to one survey, 69% of all urgent care centers experience an average wait time of fewer than 20 minutes. This is a shorter wait than most doctor’s offices offer their patients, and shorter than most emergency room visit wait periods.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 129.8 million people go to the emergency room each year. Many of those patients didn’t necessarily need and emergency room, but they couldn’t wait to get to their doctor, or they needed to see a doctor during non-business hours. These are the patients that could have been easily helped at a family health clinic.
In addition to waiting less time and avoiding unnecessary tests and potential treatment, going to a community health clinic, opposed to an ER can save money. Patients that choose an urgent care clinic over an emergency room will save an average of three hours and $784. On average, the co-pay for an urgent care center is between $35 and $55, which is less than the average Emergency room copay.
Urgent care centers employ a diverse staff to meet all the needs of their patients. According to one survey, 48% of the physicians specialize in family medicine, 30% specialize in emergency medicine, and8% specialize in internal medicine.
If you go to a family health clinic, and they are, for some reason, unable to help you, you will be referred to either the emergency room or your family doctor. There is nothing lost in going to a family care clinic first.