Understanding the Role of Urgent Care in America’s Changing Health Care System

Understanding the Role of Urgent Care in America’s Changing Health Care System

Health and Fitness May 5, 2015

Memorial urgent care

Change is rarely readily embraced, especially when it comes to government initiatives. The same can be said for the rapidly evolving landscape of the American health care system, which has undergone a series of significant changes in recent years, with the passing the Affordable Care Act and the implementation of Obamacare being two of the most notable.

In addition, attitudes towards health care and treatment have begun to change as well. Urgent care centers have revolutionized the American health care system by fulfilling an unmet need that hospital emergency rooms and traditional primary care physician offices were unable to meet.

In addition, the passing of the Affordable Care Act — which mandated that all U.S. resident have some form of health insurance — allowed millions of patients that were previously uninsured access to medical treatment. Urgent care clinics were instrumental in providing treatment to these newly insured patients, many of which couldn’t afford to seek medical treatment beforehand.

Considering the integral role that urgent care centers now play in American health care system, it’s hard to believe there was a time when they considered sub-par. However, as urgent care centers continue to expand their range or urgent care services and treatments offered, it can be difficult for patients to determine where they should seek the appropriate care for their condition or illness.

Emergency medical care provided at a hospital and urgent care are similar in nature in that they are designed to treat the acutely arising condition, illness, or injury at hand. However, urgent care is not designed to replace emergency treatment. In fact, it’s common for patients who first sought treatment at an urgent care centered to be triaged to a hospital emergency room.

If in doubt, it’s recommended to contact your local urgent care clinic in order to better understand the services provided.