Urgent Care Centers have become increasingly popular across the country as a means to cut down on costly Emergency Room visits by patients who need immediate care, but do not suffer a serious or life-threatening injury. Patients who visit Urgent Care Centers typically wish to be seen quickly for relief from immediate ailments (flu symptoms, pain management, general illness), as opposed to an emergency room visit which could involve more serious treatments or life-threatening injuries or illness.
Urgent Care Centers provide an intermediate level of care between the Emergency Room and a physician’s private office. An Urgent Care Center can set up and operate in extended hours, receiving non-serious cases when the Emergency Room is burdened by intensive care cases.
An Urgent Care Center can be quickly set up with a single physician or a few physicians. They can offer extended care and treat all forms of major medicine as long as they comply with state and local laws. This extended access can provide a boost to their practice based upon additional walk-ins and their ability to quickly treat someone in the event a person is sick from a day of work, which is ideally the typical Urgent Care Center type of case.
Physicians should carefully consider how to structure these centers. For practical reasons the center will need to be able to receive cases from Emergency Rooms that do not require emergency care. However, you do not want to become an intermediary which is simply set up to refer serious cases to an Emergency Room, which will cost you that business.