Over the years, there has been a surge in Urgent Care Centers popping up across the country to alleviate the strain on the United States healthcare system. Hospital emergency rooms are at sometimes filled to capacity, the wait is longer than usual, and at times there is a shortage of primary care physicians that can handle the load all on their own and most importantly, the rise in health care costs have created the need for alternative care. Urgent care centers have emerged to as an alternative care setting that will provide optimal care and reduce healthcare costs throughout the country.
Growing to 9,000 locations in recent years, urgent care centers provide walk-in care for illnesses and injuries that need immediate attention but don’t rise to the level of an emergency. Though their impact on overall health care access and costs remains unclear, hospitals and health plans are optimistic about the potential of urgent care centers to improve access and reduce ED visits, according to a new qualitative study by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) for the National Institute for Health Care Reform.
Across communities throughout the United States, respondents indicated that growth of urgent care centers is driven heavily by consumer demand for convenient access to care. While urgent care centers are convenient and accessible, hospitals view urgent care centers as a way to gain patients, while health plans see opportunities to contain costs by steering patients away from costly emergency department visits. Although some providers believe urgent care centers disrupt coordination and continuity of care, others believe these concerns may be overstated, given urgent care’s focus on episodic and simple conditions rather than chronic and complex cases. Looking ahead, health coverage expansions under national health reform may lead to greater capacity strains on both primary and emergency care, spurring even more growth of urgent care centers.
In 2005, after years of private medical practice, Dr. Hossein Joukar saw the need for South Florida urgent care centers and opened his first location of RiteCare Medical Centers in Pinecrest close to the Falls shopping center. He wanted to create an efficient and comfortable experience for patients while still keeping with high standards of care. Starting an urgent/walk-in care facility seemed the most logical fit.
He created a convenient alternative to traditional healthcare facilities where you did not require appointments as you would primary providers, and would be available 7 days a week, with longer operating hours. Before urgent care, the only other option for families experiencing minor conditions such as cold and flu, sprains, minor burns and infections, was to rush over to a crowded hospital emergency room. Urgent care centers like RiteCare have facilitated the treatment of non-life threatening conditions by seeing patients quickly and efficiently. With four convenient locations in South Florida RiteCare is a safe and welcoming alternative to families in South Florida.