Saturday, 27 April 2013

Urgent Care Centers In California


There are many reasons why urgent care centers are growing in popularity, not only in California, but all across the country.  When you have a medical issue that can’t wait for an appointment at your regular doctor, there are generally two options that you can choose from.  You can either go to an emergency room at your local hospital or a private medical facility such as an urgent care center.  These walk-in clinics are an alternative to emergency rooms for when you aren’t suffering a true medical emergency.  Though they are typically privately owned, they are still managed like an extension of the public health system.  The clinics are usually ideally located in busy and convenient public places in cities and towns all over California.  Many people don’t seem to yet realize the growing popularity of these medical facilities and what sort of services they can provide. But the fact is that more and more people, after having a bad experience in an emergency room or facing a long wait to get an appointment at their doctor, are looking at other available options and realizing that minor medical issues can better be handled in urgent care centers than in the ER.  Healthcare experts and policy makers have also acknowledged the role of these auxiliary medical facilities, praising them for doing a great job in aiding and assisting the entire medical process, especially in easing the pressure on emergency rooms. If used in an appropriate manner as a supplement of primary and emergency health care, an urgent care clinic can be a critical part of the medical fraternity and aid in the mission to provide practical and effective healthcare to the public. 

In the present environment of healthcare reform, the excessive use of emergency rooms at hospitals needs to be assessed.  Various studies have shown that upwards of 17% of all visits to an Emergency Room could be better treated at other facilities.  And the savings that could be realized with a better utilization of other options could be upwards of $4.4 billion.  Almost any medical condition that doesn’t qualify as a true medical emergency can safely be treated at an urgent care center or walk-in clinic.  California is home to an excellent network of urgent care centers, with several hundred throughout the state.  And as far as healthcare reforms are concerned, California is recognized as being ahead of the curve in implementing the law.  As a result, hundreds of thousands of low-income Californians have better access to health care and medical services like urgent care centers have a greater role to play in delivering value to those patients.   


There are several reasons to go to an urgent care facility.  It is not only the cost of treatment at an urgent care center in California which is significantly lower than other medical facilities, but also the wait time and time for treatment.  However, benefits like a personable staff and significantly more available locations when compared to emergency rooms shouldn’t be discounted.  These urgent care centers are generally open nights and weekends, and accept walk-ins without an appointment.  They treat very common injuries and illnesses like cuts and lacerations, sprains and strains, urinary tract infections, vomiting and diarrhea, flu like symptoms and minor burns. Some clinics are even equipped to take X-rays and perform simple blood, urine and drug tests. According to the Urgent Care Association of America, an estimated 3 million patients visit them each week.  All of these advantages just serve to further justify the rapid growth of urgent care centers all over the country.
It is a fact that the walk-in model has always been one of the most appealing features for consumers when they are seeking immediate treatment.  For modern society, convenience can be as equally important as other factors.  Advances in technology means patients can now use computers or their smart phones to make good use of their time and wait comfortably at home until the doctor is ready to see them.  Busy people value convenience and appreciate the ability of urgent care centers to bring a convenient solution to their medical needs.  For all of these reasons, it is quite apparent as to why urgent care centers have been booming in California and why they will continue to increase in popularity. 

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