Urgent Care services are medically necessary services which are required for an illness or injury that would not result in further disability or death if not treated immediately, but require professional attention and have the potential to develop such a threat if treatment is delayed longer than 24 hours. An urgent care condition could be…
Conjunctivitis (Pink eye)
Upper Respiratory Infection
If your condition warrants a higher level of care, your urgent care medicine physician will make that decision after reviewing your condition.
Retail clinics: These facilities, in outlets such as Walgreens, CVS and Wal-Mart stores, treat a limited set of common illnesses: sore throats, ear infections, sinus infections, women's bladder infections, pinkeye and non-complicated respiratory conditions. They're staffed by nurse practitioners, nurses with advanced degrees who can write prescriptions. There are approximately 1,200 retail clinics across the U.S.
Urgent care centers: The scope of services is broader and includes treatment of wounds, injuries, fractures, asthma attacks and mild concussions. Most centers have X-ray and lab facilities; some are adding more advanced diagnostic equipment. Physicians typically provide the bulk of medical services, helped by nurses and physicians' assistants. There are an estimated 8,000 urgent care centers in the U.S.
Emergency rooms: Intended to provide care to people with serious medical issues that need expert, immediate evaluation and treatment -- conditions such as traumatic injuries, heart attacks and strokes. About 40 percent of patients who visit hospital ERs have conditions that do not require high-level emergency care. Because of overcrowding, waits in ERs average three to four hours, and in some areas are much longer.
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