What Is the Difference Between Urgent Care and Walk-In Clinics?
More than ever before, people are moving away from emergency rooms for their medical care. Rather, they go to a walk-in or urgent care clinic Upper East Side NY has to offer. There are similarities between walk-ins and urgent care clinics, but there are differences as well. Let’s take a look.
Walk-in clinics are there to help people who are underinsured or uninsured at all. Their goal is to provide affordable care for basic treatment options only. A walk-in clinic can only serve people with a non-life-threatening illness or condition, however. This includes colds, headaches, sprains, minor infections, light burns, stomach upsets, and skin rashes. It is common for a walk-in clinic to also offer routine physicals, vaccinations, pregnancy tests, and STD tests. These clinics are highly convenient, because you don’t have to make an appointment to visit them. Triage is conducted to a degree, but since all patients have non-life-threatening conditions, it tends to be on a first-come/first-served basis.
Urgent Care Clinics
An urgent care clinic is not unlike a walk-in clinic, but they have more capabilities to treat conditions. Here, people with more serious illnesses and injuries can attend. These clinics are more affordable than emergency rooms, not in the least because they only offer the care that is needed, rather than intensive tests and preventative measures. Furthermore, people do not stay in urgent care clinics overnight. These clinics are staffed by physicians and nurses who can treat conditions like broken bones and deep lacerations. They usually also provide x-rays and can administer IV lines. Urgent care clinics are open 24/7 and there is not always a need to make an appointment, although this does vary from one clinic to the next.
There are several other options where you can get care if you need it. Those include (with pros and cons):
- Your family physician. They know you better than anyone else. However, they operate on an appointment-only basis, meaning that you may have to wait for a long time before seeing someone.
- Your local pharmacy. This avoids you having to pay any money for consultation, but there are very few things that pharmacists can do, as you will need a prescription for most medications.
- The emergency room. This is the place to go to if you are suffering from a life-threatening illness or condition. If someone is non-responsive, bleeding profusely, unconscious, has had a serious head injury, or is confused, then the emergency room is the place to go.
So, a walk-in clinic is the place to go if you are underinsured or not insured at all, but they are only open during limited hours. Urgent care clinics are open around the clock, and they are somewhat more expensive than walk-in clinics. Neither of the two, however, can treat life-threatening illnesses. For this, you will have to go to the emergency room, no matter what the financial cost of doing so may be, as not getting treatment may result in death.