Urgent Care Medicine: Good or Bad?
Starting in the 1970s, enterprising physicians began opening their practices after-hours to patients suffering minor ailments without an appointment. Patients avoided expensive emergency rooms, and they avoided long waits to see their family doctors. For the most part, the idea is a good one and there are about 7,400 urgent care centers in the United States.
Examples in our region include:
1. MedExpress Urgent Care in Roanoke and Danville
2. VelocityCare by Carilion in Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Lexington, Roanoke, Salem, and Westlake
3. AFC Urgent Care in Roanoke
4. Piedmont Primecare in Danville
5. Martinsville Urgent Care in Martinsville
6. First Assist Urgent Care (part of the Mountain States Medical Group) – Marion and Norton
These “doc in a box” locations are designed to address temporary, non-emergency health issues when regular clinics are closed or inconvenient. You may not always be seen by a medical doctor and instead be treated by Nurse Practitioners or Physician Assistants. They are often not capable or trained to handle more serious medical problems like stroke, heart attack or serious injuries.
For serious injuries there is no substitute for the hospital emergency department.