Saturday, April 7, 2012

Urgent Care Facilities on the Rise

Healthcare is increasingly difficult to come by in the United States, especially for those families who do not have coverage via health insurance. Nevertheless, urgent care facilities have been on the increase, servicing those without insurance and operating outside of normal hours, decreasing the bottlenecking that occurs at emergency rooms across the nation. General practitioners and other specialists who service the increased demand for healthcare during odd hours have opened these facilities. Those families with children who have issues at late hours but are not extreme enough to warrant an emergency room visit take full benefit from this service. Because general doctors may not be available after hours, on weekends, or holidays, these types of facilities are fueling a demand for those with special needs but low budgets or without insurance.
Urgent care facilities also service those who require walk-in service. This specifically means healthcare provision for those who have not made an appointment for services that do not warrant an emergency room visit. While many urgent care services are not open on a continuous basis like that of emergency rooms, they do function to help keep emergency rooms efficient, organized, and streamlined. While the system is not perfect, these care facilities are the most recent progression in the United States health care system. The next evolutions will take place in 2014 with the addition of President Obama's Affordable Care Act. While it is still unclear how this legislation will affect this specific industry, health insurance companies that may have not covered visits to urgent healthcare facilities will not turn those with preexisting conditions away.
The industry has a trade association called the Urgent Care Association of America, which establishes criteria and standards for these facilities across the nation. Much of these regulations cover the scope of service, operating hours, staff requirements, and locations in conjunction with emergency rooms and other hospitals. As such, many of these facilities are staffed and maintained by nurses and assistants that could normally be found in a general practice or small to mid-sized hospital. While some of these facilities to contain highly experienced medical professionals, the vast majority house professionals with hospital and general practice experience adequate for the overseeing of special needs populations such as children and the elderly.
Thanks to these types of facilities, many people without health insurance or without access to a regular doctor during irregular hours or on holiday can now receive healthcare, sometimes at a fraction of the cost. Because these services exist, many children, young adults, and seniors have access to a form of healthcare that would have otherwise been inaccessible. Those seeking these types of services should spend a fair amount of time looking them up online, reading reviews, and locating the nearest service within their towns and cities. By knowing where the nearest facility is, families can obtain healthcare services that are needed outside of normal business hours on weekends or holidays.

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