So you’ve decided to head to a clinic in Birmingham, AL for the treatment of whatever ails you, but are unsure of your next steps. One thing that you have to consider first and foremost, is will an urgent care center suit your healthcare requirements, or should you head to an emergency room?
If your ailment is something that is life-threatening, heading to an emergency room may be your best option. Ask yourself immediately if you are at risk of losing life or limb. If the answer is yes, call yourself an ambulance!
For Birmingham urgent care, there are a few questions that you need to ask yourself and a checklist of items to prepare yourself for before the appointment and receive the highest level of care available to you.
Determining if a walk-in or urgent care center is appropriate for you is an important part of the process, but also understanding what to bring for your appointment can set you up for healthcare success.
Determining if the clinic you’ve decided on will be able to treat you is important to ensure that you do not waste your precious time. Most urgent care centers can handle the majority of ailments and injuries that your typical family doctor would be able to address, as well as some other offerings such as access to x-rays and on-site labs.
Quick Care Family Medicine can offer a number of services ranging from physical exams (including Pap Smear) to minor procedures and DNA paternity tests.
Many Birmingham urgent care centers offer these services, including sutures and X-rays for minor cuts and potential breaks or sprains. Getting these types of injuries acknowledged and bandaged up as soon as possible is a positive step in getting you on your way to healing, but also provides the peace of mind that you will, in fact, be okay.
Understanding what the specific clinic that you are looking to go to offers is important, especially if it’s not something run-of-the-mill like a cold.
Secondly, you’ll need to determine if the clinic you’re interested in going to is open at a time that is convenient for you. Do they have walk-in hours? Can you make an appointment?
Whether you walk-in or make an appointment, if it’s your first time heading to a Birmingham urgent care facility, arrive with some time to spare to fill out your medical history and insurance forms.
While most visits take only 15 minutes, during cold and flu season or an unexplained rush of people, wait times could take as long as one hour. Wait times in urgent care centers are still less than the countrywide four-hour average emergency room wait time, mind you, but budget more time and you’ll often be pleasantly surprised.
Cost & Understanding your insurance:
Most insurance policies will have a co-pay amount written directly on your health care card, in order to keep it simple. However, understanding which payments you’re responsible for and what the insurance company will cover have proven to be difficult for most Americans.
Researchers surveyed over 200 Americans who have private coverage and discovered that just 14% of them understand the basic insurance principles of co-pay, deductibles, and out-of-pocket maximum. As a professional insurance policy educator, luckily, Birmingham urgent care doesn’t have to be this complicated as most clinics will offer a visit rate that is the equivalent, or close to most co-pay amounts.
Every clinic is legally required to be overseen by an attending physician, and while 35% of clinics are physician owned, it may take some digging on your part to view the attending doctor’s qualifications. Ensuring that the clinic doctor has an outstanding community record, as well as educational background will confirm that you’re setting yourself up to receive the utmost in quality care.
Researching which school the doctor went to, and what level of education they have will put your mind at ease, both before and after your appointment.
What to bring:
Now that you’ve learned as much as you possibly can about your insurance, the clinic, and the doctor, it’s time to prepare everything that you’ll need to bring with you to your appointment.
Integral items to bring to each and every appointment include:
Government-issued ID (driver’s license, passport, etc.)
Health insurance card
Complete medical history questionnaire (issued by receptionist upon the first visit)
Complete copies of medical histories including allergies, and copies of tests or x-rays
A thorough list of all current medications to ensure that you don’t experience adverse drug interactions
Providing your Birmingham urgent care doctor with as much information as possible about you and your medical history ensures that they are better able to provide you with quality healthcare.
It’s important to remember each and every one of these items because the worst case scenario is that a prescribed drug contained a known allergen and you develop an adverse reaction. Another scenario is that without your medical history the doctor is unable to make a correct diagnosis. In the best case scenario, your appointment is rejected, and you are forced to reschedule for when you have the proper documentation.
Understanding all of these basics before going to a walk-in clinic or Birmingham urgent care center is important to receive the highest level of care. Ensure that you arrive during operating hours, with the proper health insurance understanding and documentation, and with an understanding of the doctor’s qualifications. Armed with this knowledge means that you will not be disappointed by the quality of care you receive.
If you’re looking for a walk-in clinic in Birmingham, AL, Quick Care Family Medicine is here for you! Drop in or give us a call with any questions, we’re happy to help!