A lot of people find it difficult to understand the difference between an urgent care clinic and an emergency room. The best urgent care Huntington NY clinics, however, will do all they can to make sure that people understand it. Both offer immediate medical care, and this where the confusion comes from. With urgent care clinics, walk in clinics, and hospitals all offering similar services, it is easy to see where the confusion lies. However, each of them addresses different issues.
The Differences between the Clinics
Some differences are very obvious. For instance, an emergency room is open 24/7, but a walk in clinic is usually only open on weekends and during the evening, or on other dates when primary physicians don’t work. Then, there are the less obvious differences as well.
A key thing that sets the different clinics apart is price. This has been properly explained by the American Academy of Urgent Care Medicine. They cited an example of a woman who visited an urgent care facility following heart palpitations and chest pains. The necessary exam and tests cost her $400. In an emergency room, however, the cost would have been closer to $2,000. This is because she would have received far more services, from many different people, had she gone to the emergency room.
Where Do You Need to Go?
There is a rule of thumb to help people figure out where they need to go: life or death situations require the emergency room, illnesses and minor injuries require an urgent care clinic. Making this distinction can save you a lot of money, a great deal of time, and even your life. Some more specific examples of situations in which you have to visit each option are outlined below.
Go to the emergency room if you experience:
- Difficulty breathing.
- Intense bleeding.
- A head injury.
- Broken bones.
- Loss of consciousness.
Go to the urgent care clinic if you experience:
- Sprains or strains.
- Flu or fever.
- Lacerations such as wounds and deep cuts.
- Minor injuries such as burns or irritations.
- Respiratory infections.
There are significant cuts in how health care budgets are being managed, and more people are encouraged to visit urgent care clinics when they can. These clinics have experienced growth of between 8% and 10%. This suggest that people are starting to understand the difference. The inevitable consequence is also that it is becoming big business, with companies like Target and Walmart setting up clinics in many places around the country. These are known as “retail clinics”, and some 1,200 of them have already been opened all over the country.
While some people lament the fact that the health care industry is being sold off to corporate giants, the reality is that raising an understanding of what is and is not an emergency does mean that money is spent on the areas where it really matters: people who still have a long life ahead of them and may lose that without proper help.