Before opening your own walk-in clinic, it’s important to know what sets walk-in clinics apart from other medical care options, like hospitals and emergency rooms. An urgent care walk-in clinic has the benefit of offering patients professional medical care without the hefty hospital bills and without the frustrating ER wait time. Patients also choose urgent care because of its affordability, as it can be a fraction of the cost of a visit to the ER. Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering the advantages of opening your own urgent care center.
The ER Alternative
Patients find that walk-in clinics are a welcome alternative to emergency rooms. In a 2009 study, it was found that up to 29% of all emergency room visits are unnecessary, and could instead be handled in a cheaper, more expedient manner by an urgent care clinic. A few years later, updated studies claimed that that number had risen to over 71%.
Much like ERs, American Family Care franchises are open seven days a week and are always accessible to patients. Many ailments commonly treated in the ER can actually be more affordably covered by an urgent care clinic. While some emergencies, like life-threatening incidents and catastrophic illnesses, should absolutely necessitate an ER visit, urgent care clinics can treat most common ailments. Check out this list for a more complete idea of when to visit a walk-in clinic vs. emergency rooms.
Getting What You Pay for in a Walk-In Clinic
Everyone knows ERs aren’t cheap. Patients often come home to sizable bills that can often take many years to pay off. The average ER visit was found to cost about 40% more than what the average American pays for a month’s rent, and because ER prices vary based on individual hospitals and markets, patients have no way of predicting how high their bills will be.
ERs often end up treating minor emergencies that shouldn’t require a hospital visit, because federal law requires them to offer care to every patient. Since no patient can be turned away, uninsured patients commonly utilize emergency rooms as their main health care provider, which leads to overcrowded ER waiting rooms, and a waste of patients’ money. While the average ER visit can cost a patient at least $750, the same treatment at an urgent care facility could cost as little as $150. This price difference is the main reason why when people ask how much an urgent care visit costs, they are pleasantly surprised.
Filling the Market Gap
Given the overcrowding of ERs, it’s no surprise that Americans are growing increasingly impatient of waiting in long lines for primary care physicians. Between 1994 and 2004, ER visits increased by over 1 million per year, yet the number of hospitals and emergency rooms actually decreased by 9%. There are simply too many people visiting the ER, and not enough space to accommodate them.
Urgent care fills a key market gab, by alleviating the strain on emergency rooms, unclogging the waiting rooms and providing quick service to patients in need. The convenience and affordability of walk-in clinics like AFC make us a popular alternative to the ER.
If you want to take advantage of the ripe market with your own walk-in clinic, reach out to us today to get started.