Increase in use of urgent care facilities - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Increase in use of urgent care facilities

More and more Americans are finding themselves coming to urgent care facilities than ever before.

"I think convenience is probably the biggest factor. Not being rigid about schedules and having the ability and the staff necessary to squeeze patients in, especially when they're really sick. That's been the key to our success," Dr. Congdon, physician with Coastal Urgent Care said.

Dr. Congdon's office isn't the only one seeing double. Recent numbers by the Urgent Care Association of America says the number of these facilities are up seven percent in the last three years, soaring to 8,700 clinics nationwide.

So why the sudden rush? Many people feel like David Bensch, who says he grew impatient waiting for hours when he could get the same quality of care in less time for the same price.

"You're scheduled to come see a doctor and then you wait for two hours and it just kind of eats at you. When you have insurance, the deductible is about the same. So all things being equal, you're going to go to the place that services you the quickest and the best," says patient David Bensch.

Dr. Congdon says urgent care facilities will never replace the need for the emergency rooms that handle those life threatening injuries his office can't treat.

"Heart attacks, strokes, gun shots, lacerations, trauma, that requires those resources being available 24 hours, 7 days a week. Those resources are not necessary for sprains, not necessary for of most infections, sore throats rashes. Things that urgent care can provide at a lot less cost to the consumer," says Gerald Congdon, M.D.

Dr. Congdon says on average most of his patients walk out paying $130 dollars. Compare that to the emergency room of several hundred to several thousand dollars by the time you get the bill.

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