Best for: Illnesses or injuries that are not life-threatening, but need immediate treatment, including accidents and falls, sprains and strains, moderate back problems, bleeding/cuts, fever or flu, etc.
Also known as Immediate Care, Walk-in Care or Convenient Care, these centers have been around for decades, yet they’re still seeing an upswing in growth. (Some popular names in the game are NextCare, MedExpress, Doctors Express.)
Urgent care centers are staffed by trained and licensed physicians and medical assistants, x-ray technicians and registered nurses, with nearly one-third of them owned and operated by hospitals. They can perform x-rays and some on-site lab tests, plus procedures like suturing and casting. In some communities, these centers can function as primary-care practices, and may handle ongoing care for some chronic conditions.
Limitations: These centers do not provide emergency medical care, or treat conditions that could threaten or impair your life, such as poisoning, moderate to severe burns, severe chest pain or difficulty breathing, seizures, serious head, neck or back injury, etc.