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Urgent Care Centers vs. Hospital Emergency Rooms

Posted Apr 06 2009 11:15pm 1 Comment
The next time you have an injury or illness that requires immediate care, consider using an urgent care center rather than the traditional hospital Emergency Room.   Urgent care centers are staffed by physicians, offer sort wait times, are less crowded, cost a fraction of what   hospital ER visit would cost you, and you can walk in without an appointment.   The urgent-care centers are equipped to handle anything from a simple cut and treating broken bones, to deploying advanced life-support equipment.   Some offer discounts and payment plans and many health insurance plans cover urgent-care clinics.

The CDC published interesting statistics on the unnecessary and overuse of hospital Emergency Rooms. In 2005, 115.3 million people visited Emergency Rooms and only 5.5% of the patients needed to be seen immediately. Only 21% of theses ER visits were identified as semi-urgent and needing to be seen within one to two hours, and 14% of these visits were evaluated as non-urgent

Source: Laura Landro, "Options Expand For Avoiding Crowded ERs," Wall Street Journal, August 6, 2008.

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For a database of urgent care centers nationwide visit
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