As the United States healthcare industry evolves, urgent care centers have become known as one of the most convenient sources of medical care in the country. While hospitals and local doctors offices have become known for their high costs and long wait times, an urgent care facility is typically open by 8 AM all seven days of the week, and often charge prices that are 40 to 50% cheaper than emergency room care. Moreover, urgent care clinics, which specialize in treating non-life-threatening conditions, are everywhere: studies show that 75% of urgent care facilities are located in suburban areas, with another 15% in urban areas and 10% in rural locations. Because of these benefits, a number of traditional healthcare systems are beginning to invest in these medical walk in clinics. However, they say that their reasoning is concerned with the good of their communities, rather than profit.
On December 9, Partners Healthcare became the latest health system to invest in urgent medical care, following organizations like Lahey Health, Steward Health Care, and others. But while many healthcare providers have used urgent care centers to funnel patients who may lack a primary care physician towards their clinics, Partners says that they are focused on building a population health management strategy. Because the average urgent care facility is able to provide low-cost healthcare for patients who need minimal care, urgent care clinics should be able to help prevent more serious issues while also saving patients money.
Spokesmen for Partners Healthcare say that many of their offices will begin to refer patients with minor medical problems to affiliated urgent care centers and other community health centers. This plan should hopefully decrease the average person’s healthcare costs, while also freeing up space within their hospital emergency rooms. If successful, this initiative should save the organization money by reducing their patient volume and decreasing the number of people who are unable to pay for the medical charges they incur. Moreover, by redistributing patients to various community healthcare clinics, the area as a whole will be healthier and economically stronger. With these communal and medical benefits available, should you visit an urgent care facility in the event of a minor medical problem? Find out more at this site.