When you are sick and needing to go to the doctor, you aren't always at your best. Depending on what ails you, a walk-in clinic may be your best option. If you are visiting a clinic for the first time, there are a few things you can do to make the experience a more enjoyable one.
Knowing When to Go
It used to be that people would visit the emergency room when their regular physician was unavailable, even for non-emergency ailments. However, a visit to the emergency room can cost an arm and a leg. Clinics are far more affordable and much more convenient for a wide range of non-emergency ailments. According to a poll of 3,000 people, 27% of them visited walk-in clinics in the last two years as of 2013, which is a 7% increase from a 2008 poll.
More and more people are quickly becoming aware of the benefits a walk-in clinic can offer them. You should consider visiting a clinic if you suffer from any of the following non-emergency ailments:
- Sore throat
- Minor sprain
- Minor burn
- Broken bones
- Allergic reactions
You can also visit a clinic if you are in need of minimally invasive procedures, such as the need for stitches to address a minor laceration. If you happen to have an abscess, go to a clinic so they can lance and drain it for you rather than making a trip to the emergency room. Knowing when to go to a clinic versus the emergency room can make your experience a better one because you won't be wasting time.
Preparing for Your Visit
If you are a new to the clinic, you will need to prepare for your first visit. Make sure you bring a copy of your insurance card and a photo I.D. with you. The clinic will have to verify both your insurance and identity before they can treat you. If you do not have health insurance, let the clinic know before they treat you.
Many clinics offer financial assistance forms that you can fill out. Financial assistance allows you to make payments on your bill based on your income. The process is known as a sliding scale fee. The lower your income, the less you will have to pay. A sliding scale fee ensures that everyone receives access to the health care they need when they need it.
Walk-in clinics operate with and without appointments. You do not need to have an appointment to visit the clinic, but you must be prepared to wait if you make an unscheduled visit. Wait times may fluctuate depending on the number of people in need of care. Prepare yourself by bringing a magazine or book with you to read while you wait.
Another way to prepare for your visit is to bring any prescription medications with you. The nurse or doctor on duty will need to collect as much information about you as possible in order to properly treat you. The doctor or nurse may ask you about any prescription medications you take. By brining your prescriptions with you, you can more accurately tell the medical staff what you take and the strength of the dosage.
Make sure you also bring paperwork with you if necessary highlighting any medical problems you have or procedures you have undergone. For example, you may be asked about any surgeries you have had in the past. Make sure you inform your doctor of all surgeries, even minor ones, before he or she treats you. You will also need to let the staff know if you have any known allergies to medications.
Once the staff members have all of your information on file, future visits will be far better. Staff members can pull up your information and treat you accordingly. Just bear in mind that the very first appointment may be a bit tedious. You can also call a clinic near you to find out what else they might need to help you navigate through your first appointment.