3 Misconceptions About Walk In Medical Centers
Did you know that there are currently about 9,000 walk in urgent care centers across the US? The concept of walk in urgent care began about 30 years ago, but in New York City there are only a handful. Because this is a new concept, many New Yorkers have misconceptions about what urgent care centers do.
Walk In Urgent Care Misconception #1:
If it’s too serious for my doctor to handle, I should probably go to the ER.
Many people feel that BIG issues require a big medical center, and we agree…if what you mean by a BIG issue is something life threatening like a stroke, a heart attack, being in labor or something that will require immediate surgery. But emergency walk in centers treat non life threatening emergencies every day…things like fractures, dehydration, kidney stones, gallbladder attacks, dislocations, lacerations and burns.
If you choose an emergency walk in medical center that is staffed exclusively by Board Certified ER doctors, you will be seeing the same doctors that you would see in the ER, so there’s no reason to feel that the quality of care is different or lesser than in the ER. In fact, at an urgent care walk in medical center, the doctor may have more time to listen, to gather information…and more time to spend explaining to you what’s going on. So in many ways the urgent care experience may be superior to that in the ER.
Walk In Urgent Care Misconception #2
Emergency Walk In Centers are staffed by medical professionals with sketchy credentials.
We get it. You are picturing some shady urgent care situation in a strip mall with a flickering neon sign staffed by people whose credentials are marginal and whose communication skills are worse.
Well we are right behind you on this one. A walk in urgent care is only as good as the people who staff it. Some urgent care centers aren’t even staffed by doctors. Many walk in urgent cares seek to maximize their profits by staffing with Trainees, Physician’s Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Medical Assistants and other so called “Physician Extenders”. But some urgent care centers are rigorous about their staffing, hiring only elite physicians trained at the best institutions. The quality of doctor you see will depend largely on the urgent care YOU choose.
Don’t settle for a place where you will be cared for by a non-physician unless you have the very simplest of medical problems.
Walk In Urgent Care Misconception #3
Faster, Better, Nicer…must be more expensive.
You’ve heard stories about concierge medicine…people paying high rates to get to see the best doctors the same day, right? So perhaps you assume that a service that offers same day access to the best ER doctors in the area will charge an arm and a leg.
The truth is, if your walk in urgent care center is charging exorbitant rates for what they do, if they are charging ER rates and co-pays even though they are not an ER, if they accept cash only and no insurance…they are probably ripping you off.
Truly great doctors don’t want to overcharge, they want to spend quality time with patients. Find an urgent care center with principled pricing, which accepts insurance and you will find it to be quite affordable.