NAPERVILLE, Ill.--()--The number of influenza patients has risen to near epidemic levels across the US, so have the lines in the doctors’ offices and emergency departments. The overwhelming outbreak of influenza continues to draw major media attention, featuring overcrowded hospitals around the country coping with the flood of patients. The Centers for Disease Control predicts another 12 weeks of epidemic proportion illness. Urgent care centers help fill the void and are an excellent option for those seeking the flu shot as well as those with the bad case of the flu -- especially in the first 48 hours when antiviral treatment is most helpful.
“Our urgent care center is able to provide for the needs of our community during this outbreak of influenza. We can diagnose and treat victims of the flu and other winter illnesses when primary care offices are closed or overbooked”
Dr. Marc Salzberg of STAT Health Immediate Medical Care is experiencing the influenza outbreak firsthand. “All four of our urgent care centers have been seeing double the normal volume for the past three weeks and it shows no signs of abating anytime soon. Many of our patients are dehydrated and require IV fluids, something that can be done in an urgent care center but not in a doctor’s office,” Salzberg says. “My colleagues in the emergency departments are confirming the severe overcrowding and long wait times they are experiencing because of the flu.”
Cindi Lang, COO of DocNow Urgent Care, shares how they have been able to help decompress the overburdened doctors’ offices and emergency rooms. “Our urgent care center is able to provide for the needs of our community during this outbreak of influenza. We can diagnose and treat victims of the flu and other winter illnesses when primary care offices are closed or overbooked,” Lang says. “With lower costs and generally shorter wait times than the emergency room, urgent care allows a more efficient option for patients and enables emergency departments to care for the more seriously ill.”
Urgent care centers provide walk-in, extended hour access to adults and children for acute illness and injury care. Centers are typically staffed with physicians, and may also have physician assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners, medical assistants, and radiology technicians working with patients. Most centers also treat fractures, can provide IV fluids, and have x-ray and lab processing onsite.
Urgent care centers typically operate 7 days a week (including holidays) and are open between 8 and 9am, and close between 7 and 9pm on the weekdays. Hours may be somewhat earlier on the weekends.
Go to www.urgentcarecenter.org to find an urgent care center in your area.
ABOUT THE URGENT CARE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA
The Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA) is a membership association for the urgent care industry. UCAOA provides educational programs in clinical care and practice management, sponsors urgent care Fellowship Programs, funds groundbreaking industry research has a monthly Journal of Urgent Care Medicine and maintains an active website and online Forum for daily exchange of best practices. UCAOA provides leadership, education and resources for the successful practice of urgent care for its members.