BENTON, Ark.- After hours clinics and urgent care stops have popped up all over Central Arkansas.
The clinics are aimed at being convenient and give patients easier access to the medical care needed. Despite there being so many, local emergency rooms are still filling up.
Local doctors say the key to quality care and making sure patients get what they need is to know the difference between symptoms to help better decide which facility you should seek.
“There are certain things that we have got to see from the beginning, because again it’s a matter of life and death,” explains Dr. Justin White.
Dr. White is an Emergency Medicine Physician at Saline Memorial Hospital in Benton. He has seen everything from chest pains to the common cold show up to the ER. Some of these health issues do not require emergency care.
“Anything that you think may be threatening to life or limb needs to be in an emergency department,” he adds.
Dr. White says knowing your body is key when it comes to choosing which facility you need. Different needs and the time frame people are on has caused an influx in these new one-stop shops.
“A lot of the urgent cares that are popping up are because people are having an issue getting into their primary care,” he continues.
Just down the road from Saline Memorial is the hospital’s “After-Hours” clinic, which is run by Dr. Tyler Nelson. He agrees with White that the need is there for these quick-stop offices.
“Just a shortage of primary care doctors contributes to that pretty dramatically. People call all the time trying to get in the same day,” says Dr. Nelson.
He adds that clinics can help you avoid the high costs of ER’s in some cases if you have an idea of what is going on with your body.
“Urgent care or after hours, more things like urinary tract infections, bronchitis, coughs, colds, flu,” he says.
Both doctors remind consumers to think about your symptoms before choosing one of the facilities. They also add that the urgent care’s and hospitals work together so if it is not treatable at the after -hours clinic, doctors there may send you over to the nearest ER.