By Maxine Hattie
StarMed Family & Urgent Care centers are care outlets you can go to for medical emergencies that aren’t life-threatening, such as fevers, sprains, and small cuts that may require stitches. StarMed’s locations also offer services like lab work and vaccinations.
Nationally, urgent care clinics have about 89 million patient visits per year. They’re a popular choice because they’re more convenient and affordable than a trip to an emergency room. However, there are misconceptions about urgent care, and we want to clear those up.
At StarMed Family & Urgent Care, our unique business model allows us to treat your emergencies and your family medical needs throughout the year, all in the same building. Whether you’ve been visiting urgent care centers for some time now, or you’re new to them, here are some myths and the facts that tell the real story:
MYTH: “If I don’t check ahead, I’ll never get in.”
FACT: Urgent care centers are walk-in clinics. While you can’t control when you get sick or injured, if you can, try to call ahead to ask how long you can expect to wait before your turn. StarMed clinics take appointments, so if you call before going, you can reserve a time slot to shorten your wait time. If you’re walking in, midday usually is the best time to go. People tend to go before or after work or school, so early mornings and late afternoons might have longer wait times.
MYTH: “It’s the same as an emergency room.”
FACT: When you’re injured or ill, you’ll have to decide whether to go to the emergency room or an urgent care center. You need to consider the severity of your condition and how soon you need medical attention. The main thing to remember is that if you’re dealing with common illnesses (like flu, low-grade fevers, and limited rashes) and minor injuries (like sprains, minor cuts, and burns), you should go to a StarMed urgent care center. However, for more serious problems like seizures, severe allergic reactions, and breathing difficulties, the emergency room is more equipped for these.
MYTH: “Only a doctor can treat me correctly.”
FACT: At StarMed, you will be treated by a physician assistant (PA), including many who are fluent in Spanish. The United States is experiencing a physician shortage, even in larger centers and hospitals. This has caused patients to be triaged according to which ones need the most urgent care. Fortunately, PA’s and nursing professionals with advanced training on StarMed’s staff can quickly and properly assess your situation. They’re trained to work in fast-paced environments so they can perform first aid if needed. They’re also equipped with the skills to provide disease prevention and health and wellness education so you can stay healthy after you’re released from urgent care. If they find that your condition is serious, they can make a follow-up appointment for you with one of our providers if you don’t have a primary care physician.
MYTH: “They can only treat small medical stuff.”
FACT: Some people think of urgent care centers as places to go only for minor conditions like headaches, cuts, and allergic reactions. However, they’re well-equipped for a variety of health problems, if they’re non-life-threatening conditions. This includes, for example, urinary tract infections, upper respiratory infections, and sexually transmitted diseases. StarMed also performs primary care services, like vaccinations and pediatric care. However, if you have a condition that can’t be treated by the center, we won’t turn you away. Instead, we can perform first aid and make a referral for the next course of treatment.
MYTH: “Today is the only day they’ll care about me and treat me.”
FACT: StarMed Healthcare clinics want to be your medical provider long after you’ve been treated for today’s urgent medical need. Our goal is to help you transition from an urgent care patient to a wellness patient, including everyone in your family.
- Annual check-ups
- Routine lab work
- School physicals
- Annual physicals
- Dept. of Transportation (DOT) physicals
- Pre-employment physicals
- Flu shots
- Vaccines and immunizations
- Women’s health services, including birth control, sexual health
- Pediatric care
- Disease management