Four ways to get the most form your urgent care
Written By Stephanie Holderby
The opening of the St. Vincent’s Urgent Care center just off U.S. Highway 280 provides new options for area residents to receive non-emergency, walk-in care from St. Vincent’s Health System. Conceived as an after-hours center, this new addition to the St. Vincent’s One Nineteen campus is open 1 to 9 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Although urgent care has become a familiar concept to most area residents, many people don’t fully understand the best way to utilize these facilities. Here are four suggestions for maximizing urgent care usage:
1. Choose the right place.
Some patients head to emergency rooms for sore throats, minor cuts that may need stitches and other minor injuries and illnesses that are best treated in a primary care office or urgent care location after-hours. These patients will usually pay more and wait longer for emergency room treatment than they would have in a walk-in urgent care facility. Of course, if you suspect a threat to life or limb, your destination should always be the hospital emergency room.
2. Choose the right care.
St. Vincent’s Urgent Care has been designed to address the concerns primary care doctors’ offices accommodate. Those might include respiratory-related infections, tummy troubles or minor injuries. Although doctors’ offices are ideal for such care, they aren’t always open. And by the time a patient recognizes their need and makes a call, the office may be booked. And while St. Vincent’s Urgent Care is designed to address immediate concerns, it will also provide access to the entire St. Vincent’s physicians’ network, connecting patients with chronic conditions to primary or specialty care physicians who can help manage those concerns.
3. Choose to be prepared.
Prepared patients don’t necessarily expect to need an urgent care facility, but they know what to do if a need arises. Just as you already carry your insurance card with you, if you ask ahead about what your health insurance plan provides, you won’t be surprised by what is covered, or not covered, in an after-hours visit. Such prep not only shortens waits, but also offers more accurate information for physicians.
4. Choose to be informed.
As walk-in medical offices open on virtually every street corner, it’s important to know that not every immediate care facility is the same. St. Vincent’s Urgent Care is an extension of St. Vincent’s Health System. In view of that longstanding reputation, this facility not only includes certified laboratories and diagnostics capabilities, ranging from x-rays to EKG, but is also accredited by the Urgent Care Association of America, the industry’s trade association that evaluates scope of practice, patient safety and quality of care.
St. Vincent’s Urgent Care on the One Nineteen campus is now open and located at 7191 Cahaba Valley Road, Suite 108. For more information, visit Stvurgentcare.com.
Stephanie Holderby is the executive director of St. Vincent’s One Nineteen and vice president of operations for the St. Vincent’s Ambulatory Healthcare Network.