It’s Saturday. You woke up with a severe sore throat, fever and swollen glands. Your doctor’s office is closed for the day and you have no way to see your regular doctor. You really don’t want to go to the ER, since you know it costs a lot and will take a long time, and all for a sore throat. What should you do?
Luckily, there are Community Care Physicians’ Urgent Care Centers all across the area for you to visit weekends, nights and holidays when your doctor’s office is closed.
Over the last several years there has been a dramatic increase in the number of Urgent Care Centers across the United States and the capital region. Community Care Physicians has four Urgent Care Centers located in Delmar, Latham, Niskayuna and North Greenbush. Despite their rapid growth in popularity, some folks still have questions about when to go to an Urgent Care facility.
Urgent Care Centers treat injury or illness that requires immediate care, but does not threaten life or limb. At an Urgent Care Center, there is no need to make an appointment as walk-in patients are always welcome. Our Urgent Care Centers have access to lab and X-ray services to assist with treating a variety of different ailments.
Wait times are generally shorter at an Urgent Care Center than they would be at an Emergency Room. Since Urgent Care Centers do not treat life threatening conditions, there is less chance you will have to wait for someone with more severe symptoms to be treated first. There are generally a lot less people waiting in urgent care centers as well.
Not only is being seen at an Urgent Care Center faster than being seen at the Emergency Room, but it is also less expensive for you and your health insurance provider. Most insurance plans cover Urgent Care visits at a lower co-payment than emergency room visits. Every year, millions of patients are seen in the emergency room for non life-threatening conditions that could have been treated in an Urgent Care Center. If all of those patients went to an Urgent Care Center instead, it would save our healthcare system $4.4 billion annually.
Think about going to an Urgent Care Center if you can't get in to see your Primary Care Physician right away. Although, you should not use Urgent Care as a replacement for your Primary Care Physician, especially if your symptoms are related to a long term or chronic illness. You would also still need to see your Primary Care if you need a refill on your prescriptions.
So what kinds of things can be treated at an Urgent Care Center? Any of the following conditions can be treated at an Urgent Care Center:
- Minor accidents and falls
- Minor aches and pains
- Breathing difficulties (i.e. mild to moderate asthma)
- Bleeding/cuts — not bleeding a lot but requiring stitches
- Eye irritation and redness
- Fever or flu
- Vomiting, diarrhea or dehydration
- Minor broken bones and fractures (i.e. fingers, toes)
- Skin rashes and infections
- Urinary tract infections
- cough or nasal congestion (or other symptoms of the common cold)
- ear infection
- strep throat
- pink eye
- sinus infection
- yeast infection
- painful urination
- minor burns
Since all CCP physicians share an electronic health record, if you are already a patient of CCP, the doctors at the Urgent Care Center will have access to all our your pertinent medical information with which to care for you. Your CCP primary care physician will also be able to access the notes from your visit to Urgent Care. If you are not a patient of CCP, Urgent Care will forward your progress notes to your primary care physician to assist in continuity of care with your physician.
CCP urgent care centers are not a substitute for emergency care. For life-threatening problems, use a hospital-based emergency department. But when it comes to any injury or illness that requires immediate care but is not life threatening, it is hard to argue with the convenience, affordability, and quality of care of an Urgent Care Facility.