Since my hubby is a tree removal expert, we did the removal ourselves. He sawed the branches off as much as possible to remove weight from the roof (we have an earth berm so the roof is pretty accessible) and I hauled the piles of debris to the back acres to be dealt with later.
When he got most of the branches off the tree, we lassoed it with a rope so I could tug on the rope to guide the tree off the roof while he chainsawed the branch from the main part of the tree.
Unfortunately, as I tugged, the branch swung around, hit the ground and a part of it bounced up and clobbered my arm, resulting in what we though was a broken elbow. A huge swollen spot appeared and it bled pretty good.
Since it was after business hours, we headed for the emergency room, where after about an hour, a doctor read the xray results and informed us that nope, it wasn’t broken (thanks be!).
That weekend, my newly graduated nurse daughter-in-law informed me that we probably could have gotten cheaper and faster care at an urgent care center.
Why Didn’t We Know About Urgent Care?
The last time we had to utilize the ER, hubby was having a pretty massive artery blockage, which required stints and involved a 911 call and an ambulance. This was clearly the best place for him.
The time before that was in the late 1980’s when my youngest fell from a tree and broke his arm. I was at work and my spouse took our broken child to the medical clinic we usually use. He waited there, with the kid bleeding all over the floor for quite some time and then was told to take him to a local hospital for treatment!
Urgent Care Center History
Urgent care centers were not prevalent in our area in the 1980’s. Although they began to appear in the US in the 1970s (according to Wikipedia anyway), I didn’t start hearing about them until around 2006. Several appeared around our county, showing up in unlikely places such as local strip malls.
According to Urgent Care Association of America, there are now about 8700 urgent care centers around the country.
What Is Urgent Care
An urgent care center is typically privately owned, utilizes extended hours and is there to treat non-life-threatening medical situations, perform basic X-rays and lab work, and dispense prescriptions per Health Magazine.
At this writing, we haven’t yet gotten the bill or insurance statement from our little trip to the ER, but I’m certain the news will not be good! I had triage, two xrays, a doctor visit, an xray technician and 3 sets of administrators asking the very same set of questions. I also swallowed one pain pill and walked out with a sling and 2 rolls of elastic bandages. Care to guess what my charges will be?
Why Is Urgent Care Cheaper?
Hospitals are required by law to treat emergencies and according to several sources they then make up the cost of treating non-insured folks by charging more for treating insured patients!
Urgent care centers reportedly charge a third to a fourth for the care they give. They can exclude non-insured patients, are not required to provide care 24/7 and may utilize nurse practitioners or physicians assistants instead of actual doctors to provide the care.
Hospitals also have to maintain a triage center – to separate the life threatening visitors from those such as I was, someone with a minor injury. Guess who waits longer for care? Visitors to urgent care centers typically should not have life threatening situations, so there is a greatly reduced need for triage and visitors don’t get a bunch of life or death cases bumping them down in the wait line.
What Should You Do Now To Save Money Using Urgent Care?
Find urgent care facilities in your area. Ask your physician for a recommendation to one. Learn and post the urgent care address, hours and phone number. Drive the route when you aren’t pressed by an emergency, so you know how to get there.
Learn what your urgent care center will treat and won’t treat and make sure your household members also know all of this information.
Know what circumstances actually need an emergency room with all of it’s specialization and expertise.
When an accident occurs, you will then be prepared to make a decision as to whether you should visit urgent care and try to save some money, or if it is better to go to the ER to make sure you have available what is needed.
I’ just glad my arm was NOT broken. The other good news? The roof and skylights all remained intact!
Do you use urgent care? What was your urgent care experience?