When You SHOULD Go to an Urgent Care Clinic
In the not-so-distant past, slipping and spraining your ankle or developing what feels like a UTI (ugh!) meant you had two care options: 1) Calling your primary doc and booking his next available, even if it was days away, or 2) trying your luck waiting (and waiting...and waiting) at your local ER. Now, however, there's a new alternative: walking straight into an urgent-care center for lickety-split treatment.
These freestanding clinics are spreading faster than the common cold—there are currently some 9,000 U.S. locations and growing, thanks in part to more insured people under the Affordable Care Act. Busy women in particular are drawn to urgent care's most enticing premise: fast, no-appointment-needed visits. What's more, most clinics take insurance, and even those that don't are wallet-friendly. New research shows that the typical visit ends up costing about less out-of-pocket than one at a doctor's office, and more than 0 less than the emergency room.
While that all sounds incredibly promising, you shouldn't rule out your primary care physician for instances when your medical history is key. So when should you go where? Consult the graphic below for a quick and easy guide to determine when it's okay to hit urgent-care, when you should wait to see your regular doctor, and when you really just need to head to the E.R.
For more information on urgent-care clinics and to learn more about making the best health-care choices for your needs, pick up the December 2014 issue ofWomen's Health, on newsstands now.
Video: Urgent Care vs Emergency Room
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