Aspen Medical Center Blog

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Urgent Care Clinics are Revolutionizing Modern Healthcare

An urgent care clinic is, as the name implies, a clinic designed to handle urgent, less common medical issues that come up. Many urgent care clinics serve the same function as traditional emergency rooms (where you would go if you had severe chest pains). But again, the urgent care clinic’s goal is to handle illnesses and injuries that are not life-threatening but require medical attention.

Urgent care clinics are also more convenient for patients. They are designed to be open evenings and weekends and in locations where access to a regular doctor might be difficult.

Today, we will explore how urgent care clinics are revolutionizing modern healthcare.

Here’s what you need to know:

Lower Costs

The first thing to realize is that you can get medical attention when needed but still stick to your budget. Many urgent care clinics offer routine medical services at the exact cost of a regular doctor’s visit or even cheaper.

The urgent care clinic can treat more minor illnesses, which means they don’t have to incur the costs (and expenses) associated with emergency room visits. Urgent care also provides more efficient referrals to emergency rooms. This means you may be able to avoid a multi-day emergency room stay for something that a simple antibiotic prescription could treat.


Another key advantage of the urgent care clinic is that it is open when regular doctors’ offices are not. Many of the nation’s leading urgent care clinics, including the one pictured above, are available during the evenings and weekends and provide on-site lab tests.

This means that you can get medical attention while it’s convenient for you, which will help you avoid slipping through the cracks.

High-Quality Care

One of the great things about urgent care clinics is that they provide high-quality medical care to patients. While urgent care clinics cannot handle the same types of issues as regular emergency rooms (except for some minor emergencies that are not life-threatening), they are staffed by a board-certified physician. This means that you will be getting the highest level of care available outside of a hospital.

The staff at urgent care clinics is also well-trained in common ailments and injuries. It allows them to provide better care than many traditional primary care doctors.


Even with the growing number of urgent care clinics, many Americans have difficulty accessing traditional healthcare.

In some parts of the country, regular doctors are few and far between. Accessibility is also difficult for people who work odd hours or cannot attend a normal doctor’s office during working hours.

This is one of the many reasons urgent care clinics have grown in popularity. An urgent care clinic is the only option for routine healthcare in many areas.

With many millennials entering the workforce and many more entering the older generations, healthcare will soon be a hotly-debated topic.

If you’re interested in exploring urgent care, be sure to check out the location in your area. If you’re waiting on a regular doctor, or the wait is too long, a visit to an urgent care clinic might be just what the doctor ordered.

The Bottom Line

Urgent care clinics are revolutionizing modern healthcare. They are providing patients with convenient access to high-quality medical care. They are also a more affordable option for people who don’t have access to regular doctors. If you need routine medical treatment, an urgent care clinic may be an excellent option for you.

If you are looking for urgent care, we can help you. Aspen Medical Center provides urgent care and primary care. We are a locally owned outpatient medical facility in Santa Fe and Espanola, NM offering state-of-the-art primary care and urgent care services. Contact us today to learn more.


Primary Care Physicians for Today’s Health & Wellness

Primary Care Physicians (PCP), given their role and scope of practice, can play a leading role in promoting the health and wellness of individuals. But how exactly?

How PCPs Work

PCPs are one of the primary sources of health care in the US. They are often the first line of contact for people with a set of health problems or for healthy people who need to arrange for care.

Some PCPs are in solo practices, others are in a group practice, and others work in hospital-based clinics.

The Primary Care Goals

The goals of primary care physicians are to provide early intervention, maximize the time and attention to each patient, and ensure that effective interventions happen. Primary care physicians can encourage people to adopt healthy behaviors, such as exercise and routine medical screenings. They also help patients manage chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension.

In addition, primary care physicians personally care for patients during times of illness, including prescribing medications and managing treatments. They also serve as a key trusted source of health information.

The Conditions PCPs Treat

PCPs focus on providing patients with both medical and psychosocial problems. They commonly treat:

  • Colds and other infections
  • Chronic diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, and hypertension
  • Headaches and other musculoskeletal disorders
  • Injuries and trauma
  • Women’s health issues

PCPs treat a wide range of conditions. They are also the largest providers of long-term care for seniors as well as those with chronic conditions.

In addition, PCPs can examine and treat children, teenagers, and young adults. They can also prescribe and manage medications for these age groups.

The Value of Primary Care

PCPs are not only offering the benefits of early intervention and improved quality of care, but their services are also cost-effective.

In addition to the cost savings, the PCP-patient relationship can strengthen preventive health behaviors and help patients better manage their chronic conditions. A strong PCP-patient relationship provides greater access to care, which can help patients address conditions and prevent them from becoming more severe.

The PCP is there for you 24/7. They provide care for you and your family. As such, they are also a trusted source of health information. PCPs can help you make informed decisions about your health and help support you while addressing your health needs.

Primary Health Centers

Primary Health Centers (PHCs) are clinics that provide a range of primary care services. They are a great alternative to the traditional doctor’s office. PHCs are close and convenient to where a patient lives and works. They are also open on nights, weekends, and holidays.

PHCs are managed by health systems and private, nonprofit, and for-profit organizations. Some PHCs are managed by cooperatives and federally qualified health centers (FQHCs).

Like PCPs, PHCs can provide patients with a full range of medical and psychosocial care. They can treat common conditions, like colds and infections, and chronic conditions like COPD and diabetes. PHCs also cannot prescribe controlled substances or prescribe birth control.

The Bottomline

Primary care is a growing and valuable component of the health care system. In addition to meeting the needs of patients, primary care also provides cost-effective and timely care to patients with a broad range of medical and psychosocial needs. 

Aspen Medical Center has some of the best primary care doctors in Santa Fe and Espanola. We offer state-of-the-art primary care and urgent care services. Contact us!


Why Do Ears Hurt: A Guide to Causes (And What to Do)

Parents know how common earaches are in children, but adults can get frequent ear pain, too. You don’t have to have an infection, or even anything wrong with your ears, to have ear pain. This blog post will discuss some of the most common causes.

Why Do Ears Hurt: A Guide to Causes (And What to Do)

1 – Earwax

Earwax is a natural substance produced by the body, and it has a useful function because it can help to protect the ear canal from dust and water. Commonly, earwax will drain from the ear canal to the outside of the ear naturally. Our ears create wax because our body needs to maintain a defense against bacteria, foreign objects, and moisture.

However, earwax can get impacted and clog up the ear canal, which can cause discomfort and pain. Earwax blocks the ear canal, which can lead to the irritation of the skin inside the ear canal to the formation of an ear infection.

2 – Swimmer’s Ear

Swimmer’s ear is an ear infection caused by bacteria or fungus. Bacteria and fungus can easily enter the inner parts of the ear canal when water gets inside the ear. The water can get in if the ear canal is wet and especially if there is a perforation or hole in the eardrum.

Swimmer’s ear is often mistaken for an ear infection, but it is actually an outer ear canal infection. However, a perforated eardrum can lead to an inner ear infection. Usual cases of swimmer’s ear are usually caused by swimming in contaminated water, but it can also occur in hot tubs.

3 – Change in Air Pressure

A change in air pressure can cause ear pain, and it is more common when people are traveling. As an airplane descends, the air pressure in the ear canal changes, and it can cause the eardrum to ‘pop.’ This popping sound is called an ‘eardrum miniature explosion.’ Change in air pressure is one of the most common causes of ear pain.

If the change in pressure is sudden, it can cause the eardrum to burst. This is called a perforated eardrum. A perforated eardrum can cause sudden ear pain, vertigo, and hearing loss.

4 – Infections

A bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic infection can cause ear pain. Viral infections are the most common cause of ear pain. However, ear infections can be caused by certain bacteria and fungi, too.

5 – Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a problem that causes ringing in the ears. It is a condition that is sometimes caused by ear infections, but it can also be caused by age and exposure to loud noise.


Ear pain is a common problem. If the ear pain is caused by an infection, the infection can spread to the inner ear, which can lead to hearing loss, vertigo, and dizziness. It is beneficial to deal with an ear infection as soon as possible, to avoid any ear complications. Going to your doctor or a nearby urgent care center will help you get to the bottom of why you have pain in your ear.

If you need an urgent care center for your ear pain, come to Aspen Medical Center. We offer state-of-the-art primary care and urgent care services in Santa Fe and Espanola, NM. Visit us, and let’s get you treated today!

checking skin

What Is the Difference Between Measles And Chickenpox

Sometimes, it can be difficult to distinguish measles from chickenpox since they share some similarities. But it’s important to know that they are not the same thing. And by correctly diagnosing the illness, you will know what actions to take to treat it.

What Is Measles?

Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that can be spread by an infected person coughing or sneezing. The virus also lives for up to two hours in the air, so someone can catch it by breathing the same air as someone who is sick.

If an unvaccinated person comes in contact with the airborne virus, they can develop the measles virus within four days. A person who gets the measles virus will start to develop symptoms between 10 to 14 days after contracting the virus.

The measles virus belongs to the paramyxovirus family of viruses. This type of virus is known for being highly contagious and causing a characteristic rash.

What Are the Symptoms of the Measles?

After coming in contact with the airborne measles virus, a person will develop the symptoms of measles within ten days. Most people will get measles if exposed to the virus unless they have been vaccinated.

The first symptoms of measles are usually fever and a watery, runny nose. But this first phase of the illness may last only a day or two. Other symptoms that follow may include small white spots inside the mouth (called Koplik’s spots) and a red, blotchy rash that spreads all over the body.

The rash usually begins on the face and spreads to the neck, the upper chest and back, and the rest of the body.

The measles rash usually starts two to four days after the other symptoms start. The rash usually lasts four days.

If you see the measles rash, contact your doctor as soon as possible. You may also see a cough, runny nose, white spots inside the mouth, bad headache, and a high fever.

What Is Chickenpox?

Chickenpox is a highly contagious infection that is spread by the airborne varicella-zoster virus. The virus causes an itchy rash that can lead to severe complications if it is not properly treated.

In most cases, the itchy rash will eventually go away without treatment. But since the virus spreads so quickly, it’s crucial to treat chickenpox immediately.

Chickenpox is a lot like the measles virus because they belong to the same family of viruses. Both viruses cause a similar rash and can be spread through the air.

However, chickenpox is not caused by the same virus that causes measles. The chickenpox virus belongs to the herpes family of viruses, called the varicella-zoster virus.

What Are the Symptoms of Chickenpox?

The rash of chickenpox usually begins on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. The rash usually starts around two to three days after the first symptoms of chickenpox, lasting for five to seven days.

The chickenpox rash may appear as red marks that can turn into blisters. The blisters or spots may be filled with pus. They may also begin crusting over after a few days.

A person who gets chickenpox will usually get a fever, fatigue, and a nasty headache. They may also feel pain when swallowing or have a loss of appetite.

However, the most common symptom of chickenpox is the itching from the rash. This itchy sensation causes most people to scratch the blisters, leading to complications.

Final Thoughts

There is a lot of confusion surrounding the symptoms of measles and chickenpox. Measles and chickenpox are similar because they both cause a red, blotchy rash. But there are several symptoms associated with these two viruses that set them apart. And knowing the difference between measles and chickenpox can help you better understand the illness and how to treat it. 

Protect yourself from viral illnesses by getting vaccinated at Aspen Medical Center. We are a locally owned outpatient medical clinic in Santa Fe and Espanola, NM offering state-of-the-art primary care and urgent care services. Call us now to schedule an appointment!


Move past “Doctor near Me” and Find a Primary Care Provider

Getting that first appointment with your doctor is no small feat, let alone finding your way back if you have to switch or just find a new one because your original isn’t available. You could be left with a handful of questions. Even when you’ve got a friend or family member to review the information with, too many choices can still be overwhelming, especially if you can’t tell what separates plausible options from others. 

Here are some tips to help you find the primary care doctor that’s right for you.

Remember These Considerations

Don’t just type “doctor near me” on your preferred search engine. Always keep these factors in mind:

  • Accepted insurance providers
  • Acceptance rate of new patients
  • Character
  • Expertise
  • Patient reviews
  • Work hours

Refer to This Checklist

It’s a no-brainer to focus on the basics when evaluating your next primary care doctor, like their medical school, insurance plans, and proximity to your home. However, there are other things that you can take into account. Do you click with them? Does their personality mesh with yours? 

It’s essential to determine if you connect with your doctor to improve your health outcomes significantly. Don’t worry if you’re not sure how to answer these questions. The following checklist can help get you started.

  • Make Your Search Even More Specific: When looking for a new primary care doctor, most people start with a word-of-mouth recommendation from a friend or family member or type primary care “doctor near me” on their preferred search engine. This leads to a handful of doctors to look into, which is a good start, but it doesn’t consider any specific traits or qualifications you’re looking for.Aside from doing virtual and physical queries, make your search even more specific. Look for experts within your state, city, and county. Narrow it down to your locale. It’s cheaper logistics-wise to consult a primary care doctor in your area than one in another area code!Type “doctor (name of state, city, or county)” on search engines” instead. That should yield more relevant results. When asking for in-person referrals, state you want the options nearest to you. You can avoid wasting time and effort that way.
  • Compare Narrowed Results: Once you find the specific traits and qualifications you’re looking for from several options, it’s time to make your comparisons.One of the most important things to consider when deciding the site to get your medical information from is the information’s legitimacy. Gathering medical information from third-party sites can be problematic because some websites have inaccurate information.An instance of this is pages that say the primary care doctor is practicing in places they have never been, lists the terrible experience, and insufficient education level.

    Do your digging to discover that a professional’s website, for example, is the most accurate of them all. It lists all their achievements, training, honors, and—most importantly—state license or approval, not just those that the other sites want to share. Thus, you can be confident with that site as a source for better decisions.

  • Check with Experts: If you’ve gone through all the steps and are still unsure of yourself in your selection, picking up the phone and talking to an expert can be an excellent way to receive some assurance that you’ve made the right choice.

    Referral centers can provide you with additional information not easily found online and answer any questions you might have concerning your appointment, the practice itself, and even the best way to get there.

Find the Right Primary Care Doctor for Your Loved One

Primary care doctors, including those who practice family medicine or internal medicine, are key to your overall health. They see the big picture, including maintaining your healthy lifestyle, helping you reach new health goals, and managing some chronic conditions. 

In a sense, they are in charge of your health. To this end, they usually put the patient first and try to provide the best care possible. In addition, they don’t have to wait until something is wrong before they intervene; instead, most people go to them when they are well. If anything goes wrong, the clinic already knows about them and can assist them immediately.

Find a new primary care doctor right away by contacting Aspen Medical Center! We are a locally owned outpatient medical facility in Santa Fe and Espanola, NM, offering state-of-the-art primary care and urgent care services. Check-in online through our website or book your appointment by calling 505-468-5885!

Medical Emergencies

Medical Emergencies: When Should You Seek Medical Assistance

The internet made it possible to access information quickly. If you hear a ringing in your ear that others cannot hear, you should research tinnitus. Or if you want to understand COVID-19 better, you can easily find scientifically-verified information on the World Wide Web.

Medical information may be readily available to the general public, but it does not mean that you will not ask for help from your family physician during medical emergencies. Remember that medical assistance is sometimes necessary for the treatment of a disease. 

At one time or another, you might have asked yourself if you should see your family physician. Although there are no established rules on when you should see your doctor, you may establish guidelines on when the situation necessitates it.

How Do You Know When to See Your Doctor?

In the event of a medical emergency, you should call 911 instead of visiting a doctor’s office. You should go to the hospital if you have experienced chest pains or difficulty breathing after eating. If anyone loses consciousness, you should seek immediate medical care for them. 

On the other hand, you should consult your family physician if you cannot move your limbs or experience swelling in your arms or legs. Seek a doctor’s opinion when you experience severe abdominal pain.

Colds or Flu

Considering that COVID-19 symptoms are similar to the common flu, it is prudent to seek immediate medical care if you exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Cough
  • Body malaise
  • Shortness of breath
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritated eyes


People suffer from diarrhea occasionally. It is often harmless, but there are times that you should reach out to your family physician. Here are the signs to watch out for: 

  • It has been more than three days.
  • Black, tarry stools
  • Blood in your stool
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Signs of dehydration (parched mouth or skin, fatigue, decreased urination, confusion, or irritability)

Digestive Issue

The digestive issue is not exclusive to abdominal pain, but it includes pain in your esophagus. If you noticed the following symptoms, you should call your family physician:

  • It feels like the food is caught in your throat or chest.
  • Heartburn that does not go away or worsen.
  • You find it difficult or painful to swallow.
  • Sore throat that does not go away.
  • Nausea that will not go away.
  • Vomiting of blood or bile 
  • Severe or persistent abdominal pain
  • Constipation or diarrhea that does not go away
  • Black or bloody stool

Head Injury

Getting a bump on the head is not uncommon. It can be a minor issue, but if you notice signs of concussion, you should immediately consult a doctor. Here are a few symptoms:

  • Dizziness and balance problems
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Concentration and memory problems
  • Feeling sluggish or foggy
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Sleep problems
  • Mood changes


Most of us mistake only visit the family physician when we are sick, but you should consider going to your doctor even if you feel well. You should undergo regular physical exams. Thus, you stay on top of your health. 

If you are looking for a respected family physician in Santa Fe, visit Aspen Medical Center. Our doctors can provide urgent care and carry out a physical exam for you. Come to our center for all of your medical needs!