Over the last few years the American healthcare field has experienced several shifts in response to new legislation such as the Affordable Care Act. The most notable change is in urgent care or walk in clinics, which have swept the nation; there are an estimated 6,800 urgent care or walk in clinics in the U.S. with most of which located in free-standing buildings.
Short Wait Times
They call it urgent care for a reason: a survey found that 57% of urgent care patients waited no more than 15 minutes to be seen with 80% of all visits taking 60 minutes or less for full-treatment. Anyone that has ever been stuck waiting in an emergency room or doctor’s office knows the frustration, especially if every minute is spent in agony.
Hospitals have become targeted by many Americans without insurance who feel that fabricated expenses are simply ways to take advantage of patients. A simple inquiry into a search engine can reveal extreme hospital bill horror-stories that have charged patients as much as $15-25 per aspirin pill, $10 for the plastic cup the pills come in, and $20 every time a blood pressure cuff is used. The typical trip to the emergency room costs Americans an average of $1,500 — urgent care treatment on the other hand costs an average of under $150 for the same treatment.
Many people have become so conditioned by the traditional healthcare system that they believe that there must be some kind of catch to urgent care. In truth, nearly two out of every three urgent care centers employ a mix of physicians, nurses, or physician assistants with 65% of centers having at least one physician on-site at all times. Americans need to realize that the urgent care movement is indeed a movement inspired within the healthcare system; 90% of the people who own these centers are physicians or groups of doctors dedicating to changing the way medicine is practiced. While primary care physicians and hospitals certainly have their place in American healthcare, urgent care emerges alongside of these providers to give patients an alternative option; this in turn leads to a more comprehensive healthcare system that is better suited to put the patient first — not money.