Top Questions About Urgent Care

about urgent careWhat is Urgent Care?

Urgent care centers can treat patients for illnesses and injury that are non-life threatening. Some of these include flu, cuts that need stitches and asthma attacks. Urgent care fills the gap between emergency room treatment and physician’s offices. They provide an option for when you need immediate care, and your primary care physician is not available. Many urgent care clinics are open extended hours, weekends and holidays.

Do I Need an Appointment?

With urgent care, an appointment is not necessary. Simply walk in and you will be treated by a licensed provider. The wait times are usually short. Some urgent care clinics even offer up-to-date wait times and convenient pre-registration on their websites.

Will Urgent Care Accept My Insurance?

Before you decide to get medical treatment at an urgent care center, you might wonder if your insurance will cover the visit. Each insurance provider determines if they cover urgent care centers or not. They are all different. However, in most cases insurance companies will cover urgent care. You might be required to pay a co-payment or deductible up front. While it is likely that an urgent care clinic might take your insurance, it is always best to call ahead or check out the clinic’s web page for more information.

Does Urgent Care Provide School Sports Exams?

Urgent care clinics can indeed help your child get cleared to play. Many of these facilities offer comprehensive sports exams for clubs, youth, high school and even college-level sports teams. Urgent care sports physicals are a quick and affordable option to a primary care physician visit.

Can Urgent Care Handle Any Kind of Emergency?

Urgent care clinics are not equipped to manage life-threatening emergencies. It is best to go to the emergency room or call 911 if you experience any of the following:


  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Head trauma
  • Overdose
  • Seizure
  • Severe bleeding
  • Confusion and weakness

Hospitals are better equipped and have more specialists at their disposal to treat these emergency situations.

What If I Suspect That I Have a Broken Limb? Can Urgent Care Help Me?

Broken bones and fractures require prompt medical care. Most urgent care centers are equipped with an x-ray machine. Therefore, you can obtain treatment for sprains and fractures at urgent care clinics. The treatment for a fracture or broken bone will depend upon the location of the injury and the seriousness of it. If it requires surgery, you will likely be referred to a specialist.

Do I Still Need a Primary Care Physician If I Use Urgent Care?

Although urgent care clinics can generally take care of anything a doctor’s office can, they should not replace your primary care physician. Urgent care clinics will see you when you are acutely ill or injured. Having a regular doctor is important for preventative care. Your primary care physician knows your complete medical history and will track your blood pressure and weight, watch out for signs of diabetes, discuss appropriate screenings and make sure your immunizations are up to date. In addition, your primary care physician is better equipped to manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes or chronic pain. If you do not have a primary care physician, you can still be seen at an urgent care center. They can refer you to a primary care physician for follow-up treatment and care.


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The ER or Urgent Care: Know Which One to Choose

The ER or Urgent Care: Know Which One to ChooseMany times injury or illness happens rather quickly; your child falls off the playground equipment at the local park; you slip and fall on ice and this leads to ankle pain and swelling; maybe your husband wakes up in the middle of the night complaining of intense abdominal pain. When situations such as these occur we are often uncertain about where to go for treatment. It can make it even harder to decide what to do if it is the weekend or a holiday and the doctor’s office will be closed for several days. No one wants to wait for hours in an emergency room only to be told that the issue is not serious. On the other hand getting appropriate treatment can save your life in a medical emergency. Knowing the difference between emergency and urgent care and choosing the right one for your symptoms can save your life in a medical emergency.

What Is the Difference Between the Emergency Room and Urgent Care?

Emergency rooms are open all of the time. They do not close and most are very busy. This means that you will typically have to wait a long time to get treated. In spite of this emergency rooms are the best place for treating life-threatening and severe illnesses and injuries. They have a wide variety of services for emergency care that is available after-hours including access to diagnostic tests and specialists. The level of care and testing available at emergency rooms make them the most expensive place to get treatment. The following life-threatening symptoms should always be treated at the emergency room as urgent care centers often do not have the testing and equipment to address these issues. It is best to call 911 or have someone take you to the emergency room right away for any of the symptoms below. This is not an exhaustive list so it is always best to obtain the advice of medical professional right away for any symptoms that you are concerned about.

  • Serious allergic reactions to drugs, insect bites or food, such as difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Head injuries
  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Unconsciousness
  • Bleeding that cannot be stopped
  • Severe wounds or serious burns

So what if your child has fallen down and possibly has broken a bone? For these types of injuries, you can head to urgent care. Urgent care centers can handle an array of illnesses and injuries, as long as they are not non-life threatening. Many urgent care centers are open on holidays and weekends. In addition, many have extended hours during the day and in the evening. Most have doctors and nurses and a lab and X-ray right onsite.


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7 Questions You Should Ask When You Go to an Urgent Care

urgent careWhen you make a trip to an urgent care, you are most likely looking for a medical professional to help you in a timely matter. When most people go to an urgent care it usually because the situation is “urgent,” they may not be near their primary doctor, or their primary doctor facility is closed. If you are visiting a urgent care facility you should ask these 7 questions.

  1. Is there a doctor in the house?
  2. Is a radiologist going to read my x-ray?
  3. What kinds of lab tests can I have done here?
  4. Do you provide breathing treatments?
  5. Who is the medical director?
  6. What forms of insurance do you take?
  7. How much is it going to cost?

Click here to learn why these are important questions to ask.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest May Have Warning Signs

cardiac arrestSudden cardiac arrest is known to happen without any warning. This condition is also known to take 300,000 American lives each year. Sudden cardiac arrest is when someone’s heart stops beating unexpectedly. Since the condition happens unexpectedly, most people think that they are no warning signs of when sudden cardiac arrest may happen. A new study by the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests differently.

Dr. Sumeet Chugh said their research showed that many patients experience warning symptoms days or weeks before the sudden cardiac arrest occurred. Some of the symptoms that patients experienced included: intermittent chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, or ongoing flu-like symptoms. They also found that even though these patients had symptoms, 80 percent of them ignored them. Sudden cardiac arrest is fatal 90 percent of the time. Chuch said, those who responded to the symptoms usually had a better outcome than those who didn’t.


Click here to read the full article by Mary Brophy Marcus on CBS News.

An Introduction to Urgent Care Clinics

urgent care An urgent care clinic is a faster and more affordable alternative to a traditional hospital. These clinics are appropriate for anything that isn’t serious enough to require a visit to the emergency room. Urgent care clinics are staffed by qualified physicians who are supported by nurses and various assistants, and while these facilities are usually not equipped to handle emergencies they are capable of treating moderately serious injuries like broken bones and lacerations. It is also possible to receive relatively minor preventive treatments at them too, like immunizations and lab tests.