Top Differences between Freestanding Emergency Rooms and Urgent Clinics. Ten Tips.
Today, people in need of medical attention have a variety of options. Some of the available facilities include freestanding emergency rooms and urgent clinics. They are akin to a hospital ER except they are not able to handle real emergencies. Those that need immediate attention cannot be dealt with at such a facility, and they must be rushed to the nearest hospital. An excellent example of such an establishment in Texas is Bellaire ER. Conversely, there exist urgent care clinics. These facilities can be described as an extension to the doctor’s office. They are outpatient establishments that can treat most ailments and injuries. A significant downside is that they cannot handle life-threatening conditions. Knowing the difference between the two can help in choosing the facility to access the most appropriate treatment. The ten tips below are instrumental in guiding one to decide between a freestanding emergency room and an urgent care clinic.
Hours of operation.
Freestanding ERs usually operate 24/7. Therefore, one can access treatment at any instance by visiting such a facility. However, urgent care facilities operate within specific timelines. Hence, a patient can only gain medical assistance during particular hours of the day. Typically, medical practitioners are available for 10 to 12 hours each day.
Are Medical treatments that are available?
Freestanding emergency rooms are best fitted for extreme conditions. For instance, when one has severe burns or a heart attack, it would be more prudent to visit such a facility. The reason is that it is better equipped to handle such issues. On the other hand, urgent care centers are more suitable for nonurgent medical problems such as a minor cut, a broken bone, or an allergic reaction.
Costs of accessing medical treatment.
Urgent care centers tend to be much cheaper in comparison with freestanding ERs. The average cost of being treated in the former varies between $50 and $150 while that of accessing care in the latter is approximately $1200. The premium that patients pay at freestanding ERs is meant to cover for the additional luxury and convenience. At freestanding ERs, patients experience speedy attention, deluxe amenities and surroundings.
Most ERs including freestanding ERs have a facility fee that is levied on patients in addition to the professional fee of seeing a physician. It helps such institutions to recover their overhead costs such as administration, equipment, and 24-hour staffing. However, at urgent care clinics, there is no requisite of patients having to pay a facility fee.
Order of Seeing A Medical Practitioner.
At any emergency rooms, the policy is usually to treat people by how severe their medical condition is. Patients that exhibit more important treatment states attract faster attending to compared to those whose illnesses or injuries are not as critical. However, at urgent care facilities, people get to see the doctor on a first-come, first-serve basis. Hence, the patient will have to wait their turn to acquire treatment. If you are the first to arrive, you will be the first to get treatment.
Type of equipment available at the facility.
Freestanding ERs tend to have more sophisticated equipment and technologies in comparison with urgent care facilities. This aspect is dictated by the type of treatment that the two institutions offer.
The sophistication of equipment and technologies at freestanding ERs is also witnessed in its laboratories. These facilities avail immediate results of intricate tests. However, urgent care centers cannot produce such results since their labs are not as fully equipped.
The kind of medical practitioners that see patients.
Those that visit freestanding ERs can rest assured that a certified doctor will always serve them. Nonetheless, this is not the case with urgent care clinics. One can be attended to by a physician, physician assistant, or nurse.
A situation may arise where more medical severe services are necessary than are available at either of the facilities. In such a scenario, a hospital transfer is needed. At freestanding ERs, the establishment organizes for an ambulance to transport the patient to his or her desired hospital. Also, the patient will circumvent the hassle experienced at a hospital ER of getting an inpatient bed as they will get speedy admission. Conversely, at an urgent care clinic, such a service is not accorded to patients. Patients are forced to drive themselves or call an ambulance to facilitate their transportation to a facility that can handle their medical condition.
Freestanding ERs have inpatient services. Therefore, they can even have patients staying overnight as they undertake the prescribed treatment. In this way, the medical personnel can manage to monitor how their patients are responding to treatment. However, urgent care facilities exclusively offer outpatient services. Since they do not provide admissions to patients, it is challenging for them to monitor if they are responding to treatment or not.
In conclusion, with these tips, one is aware of the type of facility to visit relative to their illness or injury.