Urgent Care Centers – Saving You A Trip to the ER “Urgent care centers offer an emergency room alternative to patients with medical needs that are not life-threatening,” says Dr. Cal Garcia, DO, FACOEP, Chief Medical Officer for Immediate Care, which has nine locations in Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties.
“Urgent care centers fill an important gap,” says Dr. Garcia. “Patients require immediate care on their own time, including nights, weekends and holidays, which often conflicts with the availability of the primary care physician. A trip to the ER is costly, time consuming, and commonly unnecessary.”
“An urgent care facility is also a convenient walk-in destination for vaccines and immunizations as well as school and sports physicals,” says Dr. Garcia. “Pre-employment physicals, DOT exams, and treatment for work-related injuries and illness are also available.”
“Urgent care centers are staffed with physicians trained in emergency medicine, and nurse practitioners and ancillary healthcare professionals skilled at handling all levels of non-life-threatening conditions on a walk-in basis,” says Urgent care centers, Cal Garcia, Immediate Care, Urgent Care Now, urgent care, walk in clinics, John Kulin, primary care physician, HumanizeMD, DO, FACEP, FCUCM, Founder and CEO of Urgent Care Now, with four locations in Southern Ocean County.
“Patients at an urgent care center benefit from diagnostic technologies commonly found in emergency departments at local hospitals, including radiology and laboratory services,” adds Dr. Kulin. “We also perform suturing, casting, IV therapy, and blood and urine analysis.”
“I ran an ER for 10 years before going into urgent care,” says Dr. Kulin, “and I always loved the variety of cases that came into the ER. The urgent care setting enables us to also treat patients with a wide spectrum of non-life-threatening conditions equally well, but in a timely, patient friendly, cost-effective fashion.”
Common Conditions Treated at an Urgent Care Center
• Animal and Insect Bites
• Back Pain
• Bladder Infections
• Minor Burns
• Cuts and Lacerations
• Minor Dislocations
• Minor Rashes & Skin Infection
• Respiratory Illness
• Sports Injuries
• Stomach Flu
• Wound Care
Walk-in clinic. Immediate care center. Retail clinic. Convenient care clinic. Urgent care center. Emergency room.
You’ve probably heard of most of these terms and even used them interchangeably, but do they mean the same thing? As it turns out, these terms are not equivalent. Most experts agree on the following:
“Walk-in clinic” is the most general term and this refers to – you guessed it – places where you can walk in without an appointment. The other terms represent types of walk-in clinics, with urgent care centers just one step below an emergency room, although more convenient and less costly.
Retail clinics, also known as convenient care clinics or immediate care centers, are walk-in clinics located in a retail environment, such as a pharmacy. Retail clinic services may include the treatment of minor injuries and illnesses such cold and flu symptoms, strep throat, and skin rashes. Many retail clinics also offer vaccinations, especially flu shots.
Urgent care centers, the most well-recognized term for the non-ER setting, provide far more comprehensive care for the conditions handled at retail clinics as well as for more severe,
non-life-threatening health issues, and they staff and equip accordingly. Urgent care is highly recommended to supplement times when your primary care physician is unavailable, particularly given urgent care centers’ extended office hours and seven-day operations.
Emergency rooms, typically located in a hospital, are the most expensive and least convenient walk-in option. ERs are essentially equipped to handle anything that walks through their doors. They also are required by law to accept all patients, regardless of their ability to pay. This fact, among others, often causes ER wait times to be several hours and the average cost is many times more than an urgent care facility.
A recent study found that nearly 50 percent of the diagnoses at emergency rooms could be treated by urgent care centers at a fraction of the cost and wait time. And with more than
9,000 urgent care centers in the US vs. 4,500 emergency rooms, urgent care centers are closer, more convenient options. Next time, consider an urgent care center when a nonlife-threatening emergency strikes.