Tag Archives: urgent care center

Health Care facilities In Florida: A general overview

3 May

There are a host of medical issues currently facing Florida.  Yet one issue seems to stand out among all the others and it will come as no surprise to even the most casual observer.  That issue is Florida’s aging population and it is such a large concern that we can gain a better understanding of the overall healthcare scenario in Florida by examining it.  Florida is one of the premier retirement destinations in the United States and every year, more and more seniors move to the state to enjoy their golden years in the beautiful weather and surroundings.  These seniors have led to the state having the 4th largest population of people 65 years of age or older in the US. While it is certainly nice see people living long lives, the increasing aged population continues to put a strain on the existing medical facilities.  Hospitals and all types of health care facilities are experiencing the effects of treating more seniors, suffering a rise in the a shortage of beds available to patients and lacking the medical staff to handle the rising demand, especially in areas such as critical care.  It is important for health planners and hospital management to recognize that this group represents the greatest users of hospital services according to the Healthcare Financial Management Association.  Unfortunately, records also show that Florida ranks third among all states, with the highest rate of residents without any health insurance.  With new federal regulations coming into effect, this will hopefully become a significantly less important issue, but for the moment it serves to further complicate the social and economic impact of baby boomers.

In addition to sheer numbers, the health issues of the aging and the aged are quite unique and require a different sort of treatment.  Even regular scrapes, cuts and illnesses can be more serious for seniors.  A weakened immune system may cause something like the flu to be a life threatening illness, whereas it may just cause someone younger to be bed-ridden for a short period of time.  A simple fall could result in a fracture, leaving the person helpless if they are alone.  And some of the biggest medical issues of the day seem to disproportionally affect seniors.   Alzheimer’s, which is the most talked about form of dementia, affects a large number of aged people, yet the most widespread condition affecting those 65 and older is heart disease, which includes everything from heart attacks,  to high blood pressure or even hypertension. Arthritis can make simple movement painful and osteoporosis can weaken a person’s bones, making simple injuries more serious and increasing the amount of time necessary to heal.  All of these issues can require a doctor with the expertise to make the sometimes challenging and unique diagnosis, and then the specialists necessary to treat the issues.  With the ever increasing population of aging and the aged, the healthcare system in Florida will need to find a way to tackle the big challenge of simply being ready to treat these issues in the coming years.

Fortunately for the state, today’s consumers are overall more educated, accustomed to immediate services and have the financial means to seek the best care.  These factors have led to the development of a number of excellent health care centers all over the state of Florida. Everywhere throughout the state, patients can find good hospitals, primary care doctors, walk-in or urgent care centers, and other specialists.  Well-equipped hospitals with a dedicated staff can make a big difference in the quality of care available, and thus the overall health care system in a state.  Ailing aged patients visit hospitals and urgent care centers frequently for their numerous medical issues.  The presence second tier health care facilities, such as rehabilitation and diagnostic imaging facilities can also go a long way in helping to meet the medical requirements of the aging population. It should also be noted that assisted living facilities, also called elderly care homes or nursing facilities, are proving quite vital in ensuring the health, and providing for rehabilitation, of the aged and impaired.  There are a number of state as well private nursing home care facilities which provide twenty four hour, round the clock attention.  Their skilled professional health care teams aim to provide a holistic treatment for the elderly.

Though healthcare for the aging and aged is a daunting task, a comprehensive system of hospitals, emergency rooms, primary care centers, walk-in clinics or urgent care centers in Florida, state and private organizations and agencies in Florida are all geared towards working together to provide for the health and overall well being of the elderly.  With these pieces in place, the state seems more than capable of meeting the challenges it faces in the upcoming years.

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A Comparative Study Of Primary Health Care, Emergency Care And Urgent Care

27 Apr

Depending on the nature and scope of treatments offered, health care providers can be classified into one of many general categories of care.  It can often be confusing to know the difference between types of providers, so this study will set out to examine the major types of providers and offer a comparison and benefit analysis.

PRIMARY HEALTH CARE

Primary health care is often considered to be the first point of contact a patient has into the health care system when they need treatment or a checkup of their health problems.  A primary care provider may be a primary care physician, general practitioner or family physician and if the situation calls for treatment beyond their capability, they will usually coordinate that treatment with the appropriate specialist.  Sometimes people may also see a physician’s assistant or a nurse practitioner for their medical needs.  Given their frequent interaction with their patients, family doctors have a good understanding of their patients’ medical history, their current health and their future healthcare goals.

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EMERGENCY ROOMS

On the other end of the health care spectrum are emergency rooms.  They exist specifically to treat potentially life threatening emergencies. In order to accomplish that mission, they are open 24 hours a day and have all the necessary equipment, facilities, and emergency staff to address almost any medical issue. Typically they are located within a hospital complex, but recent trends have seen stand-alone ERs growing rapidly.  Patients are seen based on the severity of their injuries, which can result in extensive wait times to see a doctor if the patients’ illness or injury is not truly serious.

URGENT CARE

Urgent care sits right in between a primary care provider and an emergency room.  It is similar to emergency medicine in that it is designed to provide quick treatment to patients in need.  However, unlike emergency rooms, urgent care centers offer treatment to patients with non-life threatening injuries or illnesses.  In this way, they are similar to a primary care physician.  A patient will typically visit urgent care when they either do not have a primary care doctor, or else their discomfort is such that they do not want to wait for an appointment at their primary care doctor.  Since they are designed to fill the gap between an ER and primary care, an urgent care clinic is typically open beyond normal business hours and is open on weekends.

In order for patients to make the best choice among the options available to them, a careful comparison of the benefits and services provided by these different health care systems must be done.   It is clear that medical issues which are threatening to one’s life can only be treated most effectively and efficiently in an emergency room.  Yet for other non-life-threatening issues, there are many other important points to examine, such as cost considerations, wait times, the overall time necessary for treatment and overall convenience.

Various studies have examined the costs of treatment in different facilities for several of the most common ailments. The conclusion of those studies has been considered rather surprising.  Receiving treatment at an urgent care center is often cheaper than visiting an emergency room, or even visiting a primary care physician.  This holds true whether paying for the treatment in full or when using insurance, as the co-pay for an urgent care visit will often be lower than the co-pay for an emergency room visit.  Depending on the type of insurance, an urgent care visit may even have lower co-pay than a primary care visit.  In addition to having a higher co-pay, an emergency room visit may result in two separate charges – one from emergency room and one from the physician who treats you.  An urgent care visit will only result in one charge.

In so far as wait time and the overall time necessary for treatment in the different facilities are concerned, urgent care centers are once again considered to be the best and most preferable option for minor medical issues.  Emergency rooms treat patients with the most serious conditions first, so any patients with less urgent needs will wait longer to see a doctor.  And when considering the severe and critical nature of diseases dealt with in emergency rooms, it makes sense that the time taken for the treatment of these cases is longer. Primary care doctors typically utilize an appointment style system, which means they rarely have same day or next day availability.  Once an appointment is finally scheduled, the patient may end up facing a long wait in the lobby anyways as appointments inevitably run long and the doctor always seems to be running behind.  Urgent care centers only see patients with non-life-threatening conditions on a first-come, first-serve basis and as the patients are there to receive treatment on a specific issue, the doctors do not spend additional time addressing extraneous items.  All of these reasons help make urgent care centers increasingly popular, and convenient, for the modern patient.

Health Insurance Plans And Urgent Care Centers Can Cover Your Minor Medical Issues

15 Mar

Health insurance is a topic on the forefront of many people’s minds.  It is all over the media and for those people fortunate enough to have a health insurance plan it will cover those unpredictable moments in life.  You can get timely medical care and protect the health and financial future of your family in the face of rising healthcare costs. It is a fact of life that accidents and diseases tend to happen when least expected and they can throw everything out of gear by throwing a wrench in your carefully planned budget.  When you look at the facts and figures of how accidents and diseases, whether work-related or otherwise, take a heavy financial and personal toll worldwide, having a good health insurance plan becomes even more valuable. The Center for Disease Control estimates that spending on direct care for cancer alone is over $74 billion per year, with individual treatment costs at almost $2,000 per day.  Having a health insurance plan can help alleviate these costs and save you from a financial crisis. 

However, just having a health insurance plan is not enough.  You need to be able to make good decisions about where to go for coverage and make full use of all of your plan’s benefits. Many people find it difficult to navigate the myriad of choices available to them when they simply need to see a doctor.  There are many instances where people are unable to get the treatment covered despite having a good insurance plan because they mistakenly chose to get treatment at a medical facility that is not covered under their insurance plan.  Even at a facility which is covered, it is often difficult to get an appointment for the same day or the following day, primarily due to an overall shortage of physicians and a heavy influx of patients.  And, if any serious disease strikes in the dead of night, getting access to a physician immediately is next to impossible.  You will likely find yourself in this sort of situation eventually, as most medical facilities typically operate during conventional office hours and are closed when you find yourself in need of urgent treatment.  In such instances, you may be tempted to try a number of options like seeking over the counter medication at a drugstores or even waiting several days to see your normal doctor.

If that is the case, an urgent care center could well be the best option available in today’s health care system.  These facilities do not have such constraints like overcrowding, long waiting times, conventional hours of operation, a shortage of physicians and assistants such as nurses and so on.  Urgent care centers are walk-in clinics where you do not need a prior appointment to see a physician nor do you have to wait for forever to be seen.  There the physicians and the staff are specifically dedicated to providing prompt and courteous service without neglecting the quality of treatment.  But, above all, what is beneficial for you as an owner of a health insurance plan is that an increasing number of health insurance companies have started covering visits to these clinics for a modest co-payment and this co-payment is usually less than the co-pay for an ER visit.  As such, if you have an illness which is serious but not life threatening, you can safely visit an urgent care center and get all your treatments covered under the plan.

As discussed earlier, it is not enough to simply have a good health insurance plan; you need to go to the right medical facility for your disease or injury to make best use of your benefits.  For a minor ailment, a visit to an emergency room is not your best option as the co-pay will be higher than at an urgent care center, and you will likely face long wait times as patients with more serious issues are treated first. Therefore, a visit to an emergency room should only be for a major emergency. An urgent care center will be able to provide treatment for your minor issues, both cheaper and quicker than an ER. It can be difficult, but well worth the effort to evaluate how to best use your health insurance plan and know where to go to receive the best level of care.

Wrong Lifestyles, Health Problems And Cost Of Health Care – Role Of Urgent Care Centers

3 Feb

The world is suffering from a health crisis epidemic, with obesity and sedentary lifestyles taking a toll on each and every part of the human anatomy and physiology.  While adolescents are suffering from everything from unhealthy drinks to drug related issues, their older counterparts have not grown wiser and are suffering from a host of ailments due to bad eating habits and busy lifestyles.  Excessive chemicals commonly found in drinks and foods lead to both short and long term health problems.  Today’s youth is free, wild and restless – living life on the edge without giving much thought to the long term consequences of such actions.  We adults also seem to lead our lives oblivious of the wise saying; all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and keep on burning the midnight oil to amass wealth at the cost of our precious health.  Bad lifestyle choices like smoking, drinking, drugs, and so on, are responsible for dreaded diseases like cancer, heart diseases, high blood pressure, and diabetes.  Eating too much and eating the wrong types of foods, accompanied with lethargy and inaction will lead to long term health problems.  After living a carefree lifestyle for a long period of time, when someone finally does come to his or her senses and wants to make a change, they can face a long road back to recovery.

To fix what is wrong – a difficult task

There is a saying in life that the only constant is change.  Friends, places and things are all changing.  People who someone once least expected to meet in life can easily become well respected and even great friends.  A meaningful new experience can turn a distrust of religion into a cherished part of one’s life.  The same may happen for hospitals, doctors and nurses as well.  Instead of living a lonely and secluded life, someone may find themselves amongst people and in crowded places.  Whereas he may have previously loved instant and immediate gratification, he is now ready to put in the work necessary to achieve long lasting results. Unfortunately, due to his past indiscipline and unsystematic life, it can be difficult to respond positively to the medicines and treatments needed to turn his life around.

Hospital bills are taxing

However, above all it is the hospital bills which put him in the most difficult position.  Such people often lack insurance plans to cover the cost of their treatments. On the other hand, the American healthcare reforms don’t appear to have any tangible solution for these kinds of people either.  Records show that there is a sizable population which is without any sort of insurance coverage.  In view of the exorbitant costs of treatment in emergency rooms, primary care doctors or any other medical center for that matter, many go without any treatment.  To compound matters, the rising costs of health care can lead to unpaid bills, affecting credit scores and financial reports.  And bad credit scores in turn affect every segment of one’s life, especially the ability to get favorable rates on mortgages and loans, career, rent, insurance, bills and what not.

A good alternative – An Urgent Care Center

Nevertheless, if one has a choice to make among the various alternative healthcare services available in this country while taking into account both cost and quality, he will certainly choose to visit one of the many urgent care centers.  There are several good reasons for this decision.  There is no better option than an urgent care center when looking for after-hours care.  If you evaluate the cost of treatment in an urgent care center, you will find them more in line with your budget and more affordable than an ER.  With thousands of facilities around the country, urgent care centers are ideally and conveniently located to a vast majority of the population, usually in close proximity to their homes.  Also known as walk in clinics, there are shorter wait times with fewer crowds and, therefore, quick treatment is given.  It is possible to get the care you need in the least time possible at a relatively low cost.  Board certified doctors accompanied by their courteous and supportive staff are not overworked and exhausted, but are attentive so that a patient receives the best care possible.  If you look around the emergency rooms and contrast them with the clean, aesthetic and natural environment of an urgent care center, it will be easier for you to understand why most people prefer urgent care centers to any other form of healthcare services. Hence, if you have slipped and lost your way in the course of your life and now want to regain and rejuvenate your health, an urgent care center can help you get back on the road to recovery.