How quickly do you REALLY need to see the doctor?

Urgent care visits – cost more – plain and simple!

Doctors normally charge according to a book of CPT codes, which lists every procedure from splinter removal to surgery.  There are codes for routine procedures or office visits and codes for emergency (or urgent) visits. Extra time and urgent visits costs more.

An urgent visit could be one where you show up at the doctor without calling first.  Some doctors code urgent visits whenever a patient calls to be seen the same day, for say a bad cough or cold.

What a patient considers urgent, usually is different than what a doctor thinks is urgent.  Some patients wait too long to seek medical care, but it is more common for a patient to believe they need urgent attention when their problem could have waited a day or two.

If you aren’t sure, call your doctor first and ask.  Ask specifically if you need to be seen right away OR if your problem can wait for a non-urgent appointment.  Ask what you should do in the meantime to alleviate the symptoms and ask about anything that would alert you to the need for an emergency room visit or urgent care visit.

The idea is not to put your health at risk, but rather to allow your body to heal on its own.  For example:

  • Most sprained ankles don’t need immediate attention – if you can walk, odds are, it isn’t broken.
  • Sore throats and ear infections
  • Fevers associated with minor illness
  • Stomach flu or diarrhea
  • Broken small toe (not large toe)
  • Head colds and sinus infections
  • Sprains where you still have use of the affected limb
  • Insect bite/sting with local symptoms only

 CRM Tip:  If in doubt, call your doctor.  You may not need to be seen at all.

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