ER is packed, so the new prescription for the season – Urgent Care
(December 2011) – Tis the season to trim the Christmas tree and now, more than ever, travel to the nearest hospital! Holiday-related injuries are on the rise this year according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission; falling from ladders and getting cut by ornaments are among the leading causes of those injuries. In fact, more than 13,000 people were treated in ERs last holiday season alone. That’s up from 12,000 in 2009.
“The ER shouldn’t be your first stop if you sprain your ankle at Grandma’s or you need stitches,” says Dr. Scott Burger, co-founder of Doctors Express, the first national franchise of urgent care centers. “We don’t choose when we become ill or injured. But we can choose whether we want to spend hours of our holiday break inside a crowded emergency room. About three million people visit urgent care centers every single week in this country but our average wait time still sits at around 20 minutes. Busy families are demanding a more convenient way to be treated, especially during the holiday season – and urgent care is an answer to the problem.”
Top 5 Holiday-Related Injuries:
- Holiday decorations – According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), injuries due to holiday decorations, such as falls from roofs or ladders, cause more than 13,000 emergency room visits each year.
- Dangerous and malfunctioning toys – Last year, the CPSC estimated that there were more than 250,000 people treated in emergency rooms due to toy-related accidents.
- Fires – Malfunctioning holiday lights, kitchen accidents, and unattended fireplaces can cause fires and serious burn injuries. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, more than 400 Americans are killed and more than 1,600 are injured each year in holiday fires.
- Influenza – As cooler temperatures settle in throughout much of the country, the chance of catching the flu is going up. About 5 to 20 percent of the population gets the flu each year and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized because of flu-related complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Car accidents – Dangerous driving conditions due to inclement weather during the winter months increase the likelihood of car accidents. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 40 percent of each year’s pedestrian accidents occur during the months of October, November, and December.
“Of course for life threatening holiday emergencies you have to go to the ER,” says Dr. Burger. “But many holiday emergencies are not life threatening and can be treated at an urgent care center. We take x-rays, treat broken bones and do minor surgical procedures. We’re the solution to the ER overcrowding crisis, especially on holidays when people are more prone to accidents or illnesses.”
Did You Know?:
- 17% of all visits to hospital emergency departments across the United States could be treated at urgent care centers, potentially saving $4.4 billion annually in health care costs (RAND Corporation study).
- Patients now spend an average total time of four hours and seven minutes in the emergency room. That is a 31-minute increase in the nationwide average time since 2002 (according to the 2010 Emergency Department Pulse Report: Patient Perspectives on American Health Care).
- On average, an ambulance is turned away every 60 seconds in this country because emergency rooms are too full to accept another patient (American College of Emergency Physicians).
- In the ER, people with the most “immediate” needs, or those with the most severe injuries wait an average of 28 minutes to see a physician. The average wait time to see a physician in an ER is more than double the recommended time in some cases (according to a 2009 report from the Government Accountability Office).
Holiday “Urgent Care” at Doctors Express:
- Doctor’s exam, lab work, x-rays, minor surgical procedures and in-house medication dispensing.
- Every patient is seen by an experienced physician.
- Most insurance, including Medicare, is accepted. Those who don’t have insurance receive a discount on services.
- You can save about $430 dollars by seeking treatment at a Doctors Express vs. an ER (RAND study).
Sources: Consumer Product Safety Commission, 2010 Emergency Department Pulse Report: Patient Perspectives on American Health Care, Urgent Care Association of America, Government Accountability Office report released in May 2010.
About Doctors Express:
Doctors Express was founded in Baltimore in 2005 by an emergency room physician and two business executives in Towson, Maryland, seeking a more efficient, affordable and personable system for urgent care patients. Doctors Express walk-in medical centers are sweeping across the country as America’s first nationally branded urgent care centers. Doctors Express provides state-of-the-art, non-emergency treatment for acute illness, trauma and sports injuries (including minor surgical procedures) and has on-site laboratory and digital x-ray service. Pre-employment physicals, drug screening and treatment of work related injuries are also available to local employers. Visit DoctorsExpress.com