Understanding Emergency Clinics Vs Urgent Care Clinics
Sniffling, Sneezing, Coughing. You sound terrible. Oh phooey! You promised your “grandma,” you’d bring her a “basket” full of your old People magazines. But how can you? You seem to be “red” all over and what’s more, it’s pouring outside. That “crimson hooded” raincoat she bought you last year may not be enough protection, especially since you obviously have the symptoms of a cold and possibly something else. You’d better get medical treatment, before the situation gets too “hairy!”
To avoid “riding” aimlessly through the streets, you get online and comb through the “forest” of clinics to see what’s close, what’s fast and what’s economical. Incidentally, it should be open late. Who are you fooling? Quick, cheap and always open? That reads like a “fairytale.” You’d better be careful.
A-ha! You’ve found one. It’s a clinic and it’s open 24 hours. Whoopee! You can get treated and still make it to your destination later. Now remember, you’ve been warned about going to Emergency Rooms, because they’re “dangerous” on the pocket. But you’re not worried. You just want to go to an Urgent Care Clinic, where you’ll only be charged your copay. This should all work out.
It’s weeks later and you receive an envelope from that clinic you visited for your pesky cold and rash. Upon opening it, your “eyes get big and you growl” with discontent. “Oh my, what big bills you have!” Was it really an Emergency Room cleverly “disguised” as an Urgent Care Clinic? The exorbitant cost suggests it. You feel tricked. You were treated at a Freestanding Emergency Care Center (FEC), which looks and operates like an Urgent Care Clinic, but bills like an Emergency Room. Alas, your “naivety” really got you this time.
At Achieve Financial Group we care about your health and your pocketbook, and here are some tips on choosing the right medical facility. There are key differences between Urgent Care Clinics and Freestanding Emergency Care Centers (FEC), which will help you to understand how they both function and what would be best for you:
- FEC patients are treated by an emergency room physician.
- Urgent Care Clinic patients are treated by nurse practitioners.
- FECs use state of the art equipment and a lab to diagnose and treat emergency cases.
- Urgent Care Clinics normally treat non-emergency cases.
- FECs bills patients like a trip to a hospital ER, which is complete with a facility fee.
- Urgent Care Clinics bill patients like a trip to the doctor’s office.
- FECs are open to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of year.
- Urgent Care Clinics have limited hours of operation.
The next time you have a cold or something that doesn’t deserve a trip to the ER, avoid having your bank account “devoured” by a Freestanding Emergency Care Center. They are about 145 facilities in Texas alone. Be sure it’s an Urgent Care Clinic. You’ll “stay out of the woods,” and you won’t be left to “eat” the costs of going to a hospital emergency room.