If you need urgent care, should you go to a hospital or clinic? Understanding the difference is key because, in a medical emergency, time is of the essence. In this guide we’ll explore what distinguishes clinics from hospitals, so you can make the right healthcare decision.

What is a Medical Clinic?

If you need urgent care that isn’t life-threatening, a medical clinic is the appropriate setting. Clinics specialize in providing outpatient services that allow you to go home once a professional has fulfilled their duty of care.

What Services Does an Urgent Care Clinic Offer?

In terms of services a clinic might offer, these could include:

  • Medical attention is required when you’re sick but not seriously ill
  • Preventative care to manage an ongoing condition or delay sickness
  • Routine (in other words, planned) medical support for a known problem
  • Some are walk-in clinics that allow you to be seen there and then

Are Some Clinics Specialized?

Many clinics offer general services. Others deliver specific types of urgent care that range from mental health through to sexual health. This means it’s important to find a facility capable of supporting your requirements.

Which Professionals Work at Clinics?

A range of specialists work at clinics and urgent care centers, including physical therapists, registered nurses, primary care doctors, and physicians.

Medical Clinics Versus Hospitals: Four Key Differences

Here are four factors to consider before visiting a hospital or clinic.

1. Clinics Don’t Provide Emergency Surgery

If you need to remove a lesion, bump, mole, or growth from your skin, a clinic is best. But if the problem is serious – for example, you need your appendix removed – driving to a hospital is the recommended course of action.

2. Do You Need Inpatient or Outpatient Care?

As touched upon earlier, clinics discharge patients after treatment. Although hospitals provide outpatient services, their focus is on inpatient care requiring an overnight stay.

3. The Scale of Each Facility is Different

Hospitals have more staff, space, and facilities. Contrastingly, urgent care clinics are smaller and use a smaller staff pool.

Which is Most Expensive?

Although most U.S. citizens have health insurance, additional costs could apply if you visit a clinic instead of a hospital. This will depend on the type of insurance you have. Some medical clinics are private while others are publicly run or operated by the government. The type you visit may affect the price you can expect to pay.

You should also check your co-payment as many insurance policies have different co-payments for urgent care versus emergency room visits. In many cases, co-payments for emergency room visits are higher than for urgent care visits.

Many clinics accept most types of health insurance. But it’s worth phoning ahead to check whether your insurance covers the service you need.

Key Takeaways

Medical clinics provide general and specialized services. Built around outpatients’ needs, these facilities can help with non-life-threatening conditions: routine and planned.

Most clinics accept healthcare insurance but it’s best to call ahead first. That way you can save time, stress, and avoid disappointment.

Naples Urgent Care: A Clinic You Can Trust

Access a range of clinical services by making Naples Urgent Care your first port of call for medical and healthcare concerns that don’t require an emergency hospital trip.

From COVID-19 testing through to tailored weight loss programs, there isn’t much we can’t do. As well as providing urgent care services, we’re here to help you and your family establish year-round wellness with our primary care offerings. Get in touch to learn more.

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