If you don’t have urgent care included in your injury process, you’re probably spending far too much money on managing injuries. When an employee is injured, the instinctive response might be to take them to the emergency room. But is that really the best choice?
Emergency rooms are the perfect place for true emergencies, but they are often also used for non-emergencies. This ends up resulting in poorer care, longer wait times, and higher costs. There are countless urgent care facilities that are sometimes referred to as urgent care, occupational clinics, walk-in clinics, or ready clinics. While urgent care centers are usually not open 24/7, in the United States 70% of centers open by 8:00 a.m. or earlier and 95% close after 7:00 p.m.
Just like hospitals, some urgent care centers are better than others so make sure you have a list of recommended facilities that are best suited to serve your injured employees (which we can provide). A good urgent care facility will provide quality, individualized care with far less wait time than an emergency room. On average, the wait time in an emergency room in the U.S. is 2.4 hours, whereas urgent care centers are usually able to see walk-in patients within 15-45 minutes.
When it comes to costs, statistics show that the cost of medical services for your employees will be at least 30-40% less when you utilize an urgent care facility instead of an emergency room. This alone will reduce your workers’ comp insurance costs by reducing the cost of claims that you can’t avoid.
An emergency room physician is trained to triage and stabilize an injury, but there is very little focus on what happens after they discharge a patient. An ER doctor will typically refer a patient to a specialist or their family physician once they have been stabilized, which makes it difficult to track and record milestones. An occupational medicine provider at an urgent care center also has experience with on-the-job injuries and will regularly prescribe treatment plans that are going to return your employee to work as soon as possible.
They can also help you manage the workers’ compensation process because they have far more experience with the state and industry regulations and lost time issues that impact an employer’s business. Many urgent care facilities position themselves as a resource for employers right on their website, especially when it comes to helping employers with back-to-work plans and workers’ compensation claims.
Unlike emergency rooms, it is also possible to develop a relationship with an urgent care facility before you need to send an employee to them. If they know that you are recommending them to all of your employees, they will make it a priority to provide your employees with speedy and quality care. You’ll be more likely to have the opportunity to establish better relationships with the doctors and nurses at an urgent care facility because there are fewer people involved in the day-to-day running of the facility, as opposed to a hospital’s emergency room. Having a direct relationship also allow you, as an employer, to get advice on what job functions can and can’t be performed after an injury, which can help facilitate accurate and timely billing. Urgent care facilities can also help you with pre-employment issues like determining pre-existing medical conditions, drug testing, etc.
Urgent care facilities subscribe to an all-in-one approach to providing medical care and this creates efficiencies throughout the process. Your employees can return to the same provider for any rehabilitation needs, follow-up visits, and specialist care that may be needed for their work-related injuries. Sending an employee to the emergency room would create additional work for you and your employee because they would need to get referrals for each new doctor and you’d have to chase the billing trail. Doctors at urgent care clinics can perform functional evaluations to ensure a rapid recovery and prompt return-to-work. In short, you can receive a superior level of care, decreased wait time, and simplified billing and management of employee progress all while cutting costs in the process.
Urgent care facilities can be an employer’s best friend, and the emergency room should be avoided at all cost for any injury that is not life-threatening. Not only will this help you reduce insurance costs, but it will also provide a better experience for your employee and help get them quickly back on the road to recovery.