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Preparing For An Urgent Care Visit

What do an earache, dog bite, and a minor sprain have in common? They are all good reasons to choose a walk-in urgent care clinic over the emergency room. Not only are the waits generally less at urgent care, the cost may also be much less expensive than the going rates for seeing an emergency room doctor. If your primary care physician can't get you in and you dread the wait at the emergency room, then read through the following to prepare for a visit to the walk-in urgent care facility.

Is the condition suited to urgent care?

Not all health issues can be treated at an urgent care. As a general rule, minor illnesses, fevers, and minor injuries are all that are treated. So a cut that needs a few stitches and a tetanus shot are good candidates for urgent care, but severe bleeding, damaged muscle tissue, or a broken bone may be better suited to the emergency room. As for illnesses, a fever and vomiting can be treated at urgent care, whereas something like heart failure needs to be treated at the emergency room. Urgent care clinics are equipped to handle basic health crises, but they do not have MRI machines or surgical facilities for diagnosing or treating more major problems.

Are there any clinics in your existing network?

If there are multiple urgent care clinics in your area, then try to visit one that is affiliated with your network of doctors. You can call your primary care physician's office for a referral to a clinic in their network, or you can contact your insurance company to see if there is a covered clinic in your insurance network. While it can be helpful for insurance billing and quick transmission of medical records to stay in network, it isn't required for you to receive treatment.

Do you have everything you need for the visit?

If you haven't visited the clinic previously, you will need to fill out a basic health history form and provide insurance information. The only exception to this is if the office is part of your doctor's network of clinics. Some urgent care clinics provide a sliding payment scale for low-income patients that won't be covered by insurance, so you may also need to bring in proof of income. If you will be paying out of pocket, then bring a payment method with you. It's also a good idea to have a list of your current medications and the contact information for your normal doctor.

An urgent care facility can be a great alternative to the emergency room, as long as you make sure you are prepared for the visit. Reach out to a clinic like MED7 Urgent Care Center for more information.