This post is sponsored by Texas MedClinic. All opinions are my own.
What moms need to know about urgent care centers
When do you take your children to an urgent care center? As moms, sometimes we’re making those decisions during a moment of stress or trauma. Do we hold out for an appointment with our regular family doctor or pediatrician, head for the emergency room or go to one of the urgent care centers that seem to be just about everywhere?
I can’t give you the answer to that question. Honestly? I feel like most of my everyday parenting is more luck than wisdom.
But, I do know a little bit about what urgent care is (and isn’t) thanks to my friends at Texas MedClinic and I’d like to share a few things about what moms need to know about urgent care centers.
I went to a media preview of the newest Texas MedClinic at the Oak Run Location in New Braunfels and not only was I warmly welcomed (there were muffins!), I learned a ton about urgent care centers and how to make the choice for my family.
I also learned some things about the color of snot, which is always a good time. Hey, I’m a mom. Snot talk doesn’t phase me, but it was pretty educational. More about that in a minute.
1. First, know what urgent care is and isn’t
If there is “emergency” anywhere in the name of the clinic, chances are it’s a free-standing emergency room and not an urgent care center. The difference is important. As in thousands of dollars important.
2. How do I know the difference between free-standing emergency rooms and urgent care centers?
If something is called “Emergency Clinic” or “Emergency Care Center” or anything with the word emergency in it, it is not an urgent care. Texas MedClinic is an urgent care center and not only that, they are urgent care pioneers in the San Antonio area.
3. So what is a free-standing emergency room, exactly?
A free-standing emergency room is not connected to or located within a full-service hospital. That means they may not have the capability to handle true emergencies, like stroke, heart attack or trauma requiring immediate surgery. If you present yourself to a free-standing emergency room and you have a true emergency, guess what happens? You get to take a trip in an ambulance.
Not only do you have to pay for the ambulance ride, you’ve lost time in getting appropriate care.
4. If I’m just taking my child in for a minor illness, what’s really the difference?
When you take your child to a free-standing emergency room for something like strep throat or flu, you’re probably reasonably sure that you’re going to be leaving the same way you arrived. While that might be true and while a free-standing emergency room is certainly equipped to handle strep throat or flu, guess what?
You’re going to pay emergency room prices.
Is that really a big difference?
A recent study by Rice University “ Freestanding Emergency Departments in Texas deliver costly care, sticker shock” showed that freestanding emergency rooms charged 10 – 15 times more than urgent care clinics for treatment of similar problems.
The average visit at a Texas MedClinic is going to run about $175.00. Multiply that by 10 or 15? I’m not going to make anyone do public math but can we all say “ouch?”
Do you really want to pay emergency room prices to be told you have the flu? Nope.
5. When should I consider an urgent care center versus an actual emergency room?
In a nutshell, if you need an ambulance, go to an emergency room. If you’re experiencing one of “life’s little emergencies” like flu, strep throat, cuts and abrasions, sprains or broken bones and can’t get to your regular doctor, consider an urgent care center like Texas MedClinic.
During cold and flu season, doctor’s offices are going to be bombarded with sick kids and you might not be able to get your child seen as quickly as you need. That’s where urgent care can come in.
Does Texas Med Clinic provide any other types of service?
Yes. Texas MedClinic has the capability to handle occupational medical issues, such as drug screening. If you are a business owner and need to send an employee for a screening or a worker’s comp related issue, Texas MedClinic can accommodate.
Texas MedClinic can also handle immunizations, sports and school physical exams and gynecological issues. For the busy mom who needs the flexibility of weekend and evening hours, Texas MedClinic might be your problem solver for routine appointments.
I remember when our boys started pre-kindergarten. We moved after the start of the school year, and since pre-K isn’t mandatory in Texas, the space is limited and not everyone who wants to put their kids in public school pre-K can get in. We thought that moving after school had already started would be a deal-breaker but it turned out our school had space for two.
We didn’t have weeks to prepare our kids to start school…school was starting NOW and of course, we were missing immunizations. An urgent care center like Texas MedClinic solves a lot of problems for moms when life doesn’t exactly go how you plan for it.
Texas MedClinic is staffed with doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. Not only do they offer quality urgent care in a professional setting, they have an online check-in system that rocks. Appointments aren’t needed, you can choose your location online and see what your wait time looks like.
Once you reserve your place in line, you can receive alerts via email, text or phone when your visit time is nearing. Doesn’t that sound so much better than sitting with your sick kid in a waiting room with other sick people?
Texas MedClinic has just opened its second location in New Braunfels (its 18th location over all) which is a beautiful community north of San Antonio. We are more likely to hang out in New Braunfels than we are in downtown San Antonio and I’m excited to see this area experiencing so much growth and to know this service is available for my family's care, if we need it.
I had the opportunity to visit this Texas MedClinic before it opened. Texas MedClinic has been around for 35 years.
This location is located on SH 46 in the Oak Run neighborhood. It’s open 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day, and offers urgent care for ailments like cuts, broken bones, allergies, stomach aches, headaches, rashes, fever and sore throats as well as the occupational medicine options I mentioned above.
Now, I promised we’d talk about snot and I won’t let you down.
During our tour of the new Texas Med Clinic, we got to chat with Dr. David Gude who gave us some awesome insight into things moms want to know when their kids are sick, such as “does my child need an antibiotic” and whether the color of their snot is indicative of serious infection.
I’d always thought green snot meant serious infection and to get to the doctor ASAP. Actually, green snot means mucus has accumulated and is thick with dead white blood cells. If after 12 days your condition doesn’t improve, you may want to see a doctor. See a doctor sooner if you’re feverish or nauseated. Read more here.
My family has been lucky. Our need for urgent care has been minimal. But, I have two little boys in public school and, as much as I love our Texas public school, that many kids in one place equates to a human petri dish. They are in second grade and there will come a time when they're sick on the weekends or when life is completely crazy and I can't get an appointment with their regular provider.
I'm glad I have a better understanding of what urgent care centers can do and what I need to know to make the best decisions for my family's care.