Can't Get In To See Your Doctor? Many Patients Turn To Urgent Care
Though the majority of Americans have a primary care doctor, a large number also seek treatment at urgent care centers, statistics show. For many people, the centers have become a bridge between the primary care doctor's office and the hospital emergency room.
Urgent care is not meant for life-threatening emergencies, such as a heart attack, stroke or major trauma, doctors say. But it is designed to treat problems considered serious enough to be seen that day — conditions like a cut finger, a sprained ankle, severe sore throat, or the sort of infection 25-year-old Dominique Page recently experienced.
Page, who lives in Los Angeles, suspected she had a bladder infection when she woke up that morning. Instead of calling her primary care doctor, she headed straight to the nearest urgent care clinic.
"I knew if I made an appointment at my doctor's office, it wouldn't be for today," she explains. "Their appointments are usually booked."