Emergency Rooms can be some of the worst culprits when it comes to outrageous costs. They will charge $1 for a single ibuprofen tablet, while you can buy a bottle of 500 tablets at Costco for $5.
A single visit to the ER could cost thousands of dollars. A relative recently had to have a half inch splinter removed from his leg. The cost? $6,100. Last year, a visitor went to the ER with a headache that could have been meningitis. She was discharged 4 hours later with no firm diagnosis. The cost? $8,500.
So what do you do about this? Avoid the ER, if at all possible!
But you still need medical care… what do you do? Go to an Urgent Care facility instead! (Update: What if you need an ER? See below…)
Austin Urgent Care Facilities
There are several Urgent Care clinics in the Austin area. To be able to use them effectively, you need to know which services they offer and where they are located.
Which Services Do Austin Urgent Care Clinics Offer?
Some typical services that Austin Urgent Care clinics offer are:
- Injuries, like sprains, breaks, bites, cuts, puncture wounds, etc.
- Illnesses, like allergies, asthma, diarrhea, headaches, flu, infections, etc.
- Diagnostics, like X-rays, lab tests, etc.
- Vaccinations, like meningitis, tetanus, flu, hepatitis B, etc.
Keep in mind, however:
- Some life-threatening conditions may require that you visit an ER. An Urgent Care clinic will probably tell you that very quickly. In such a case, see the update below.
- Urgent Care clinics are typically not open 24/7 like an ER, but they are open outside of office hours.
Where Can I Find An Austin Urgent Care Clinic?
Here is a map that shows the locations of many Urgent Care facilities in the Austin area.
If you do this, when the need arises, you will be prepared and won’t automatically go to the ER where you are likely to get ripped off on costs.
Update: What If You Need An ER?
Sometimes your medical situation needs an ER. My best advice is to look for a free-standing ER. This is an ER that is not associated with a large hospital group. (Note: Sometimes a large hospital group will build an ER that is in a building away from the hospital. That is not a free-standing ER.)
One such free-standing ER is Cedar Park Emergency Center. They are a full ER that can handle any type of medical emergency. For people with health insurance, they charge mandated ER fees. If you don’t have health insurance, or your health insurance company sticks you with the bill, CPEC will work out a much better financial deal than a hospital-based ER will. CPEC is also on the map above.
PS. What are your experiences with ER and Urgent Care facilities? Tell us in the comments…