When looking at primary and urgent care there are many differences between the two. Primary care is basically the day-to-day healthcare that is given by their physician. Urgent care is the type of medical care someone seeks when they have an illness or injury that is not serious enough to warrant going to the emergency room, they have no primary care physician, or it is after the hours that their primary care physician is open.
• Primary care generally refers to a physician’s office and they have set hours and do not work on the weekends.
• Most physicians’ offices have set appointments and if a person needs to be seen they may have to wait until an open appointment is available or they may be squeezed in to an already busy schedule and have a long wait until they can be seen.
• Generally a physician’s office has a set payment schedule for visits, procedures done, etc and that is what they charge the insurance company.
• With many insurance plans there is a co-pay that the patient has to pay when leaving the office and that is generally a set co-pay
• Primary care physicians are not only general family care doctors but can also include specialist physicians like dermatologists, gynecologists, and neurologists.
• Here you have an appointment so when you arrive you will generally be called back when it is your appointment time.
• One of the biggest differences between the two is that urgent care has later hours and often is open on weekends. They are generally not open twenty-four hours a day.
• If a person becomes ill or injured their primary care physician generally cannot see them that day or else they tell them to come in but they will have to wait to be seen. With urgent care you can walk in and be seen immediately without an appointment. Unless the facility is extremely busy the wait time to be seen is not that long.
• The main drawback with this type of medical facility that they will usually charge more for their services.
• Even if the patient has insurance the co-pay that they have to pay may be double what they normally pay because the facility offers a specialized service.
• In urgent care medical facilities the physician working there are considered general family doctors and do not specialize in any particular area. They only deal with the basic illnesses and injuries.
• Although you can walk in and be seen you may still have to wait some because people are seen on a first-come, first-seen basis. They may also take the more serious injuries and illnesses first.