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Urgent Care Centers vs. Hospital Emergency Rooms

Posted Aug 08 2011 9:28am
Last month my husband was injured while playing basketball and his injury required him to have a number of stitches.  With our family high-deductible health plan (HDHP), we realized that a visit to the hospital emergency room was going to be a very expensive option.  His injury was serious enough to require a specialized doctor, but definitely not a life threatening situation that required  a trip to the emergency room. 

Almost ten years ago my daughter went to the hospital emergency room after her arm went through a glass door.   Seven stitches and five hours later we arrived back home.    Two weeks later a bill arrived from the hospital for $770.  That turns out to be around $100 a stitch.  The ER staff treated her wonderfully, but her injury seemed minor compared to some of the other patients being treated in the ER.  The $770 bill was entirely out-of-pocket.  After that expensive experience I always planned to use an Urgent Care Center the next time our family required urgent care treatment for a non-life threatening situation.

My husband’s recent experience at the Urgent Care Center was very positive.  He was treated immediately by professionals and returned back home in 75 minutes with five carefully sewn stitches on his lip.  We just received the bill which completely justifies why we chose the Urgent Care Center over the Hospital Emergency Room. The next time you have a non-life threatening situation and are considering going to the emergency room, I highly recommend you reconsider and check out a highly recommended urgent care center in your area.

Here is how the services and fees break down for the visit to the urgent care center.


Description of Service

Amount Billed

Contracted Amount

Xylocaine 1% 20cc






Cefadryxil 500 mg CAP



Suture pack each



Suturing Instruments



Immunization administration fee



Sim RP face-ears-eye



LVL 2 treatment fee w/procedure



Doctor fee level 2 clinic



Total Amount Billed



Total Amount I Paid (contracted rate)






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