Many people prefer urgent care when they can’t see their doctor immediately or don’t want to go to the emergency room. For most non-emergency situations, urgent care clinics are a better alternative than the emergency room. But you must know what to ask before you set foot in the door.
Here are some inquiries you need to make at an urgent care clinic:
1. What Type of Provider Will See Me?
Many urgent care centers have different healthcare professionals. Some are open during the day, and some are open during the evening. Many of the available centers 24/7 have only nurses staffing the facility at night. You must know what type of provider will see you because each provider has different rules for admitting patients to the hospital.
In addition, if you need to see a specific type of provider, you should call in advance to speak to the person who will be seeing you.
2. What Prescriptions Can Be Refilled at the Center?
Some urgent care centers can refill many types of prescription medications. These centers will have this information posted on their websites, so you can check before you go.
If they can’t refill your medication on-site as a walk-in, you should know this ahead of time. Sometimes, centers right down the street from your pharmacy won’t fill your prescription unless you pick it up at the center. This isn’t convenient, so you want to find one that will let you pick it up right at the pharmacy.
3. What Do They Charge for Their Services?
Some urgent care centers have a set fee on their website. Other centers have varying prices depending upon your level of coverage.
For example, if you have Medicare, you might pay a little more than if you have just regular health insurance. You’ll want to find out about their fee schedule before your visit.
4. What Is Their Walk-in Policy?
Some urgent care centers will be busy, and you may have to wait a little while to be seen. If you need to check as soon as possible, you’ll want to ask about their walk-in policy.
Do they take walk-ins, or do you need to make an appointment? You may need to call ahead to see if they have the capacity to attend to you at the moment.
5. How Long Is the Current Wait Time?
Some urgent care centers are bustling, especially in the evening and on the weekends. If you have to see them during these times, you’ll want to know the current wait time. If you have to wait for a long time, you can make plans to do something else while you’re waiting.
6. Do I Need to Follow Up with You or My Primary Care Physician?
If you break your arm, urgent care centers may be able to set the bone, put it in a sling, and send you home. But if it’s not healing correctly, you’ll need to go back for further treatment.
If your urgent care center sends you home, but you’re concerned about your injury, you’ll want to make sure that you follow up with your primary care physician.
Visiting an urgent care center is an excellent alternative to the ER. They help relieve stress in emergency rooms and reduce wait times. If you have questions about using an urgent care clinic, talk to your regular doctor or call the facility.
Aspen Medical Center is your urgent care center in Santa Fe, NM, offering health services to all ages. Contact us for a consultation today!