You are likely already familiar with the ambulatory clinics around Kansas City. Often called "Urgent Care Centers" or "Walk-In Clinics," they offer quick medical exams for non-emergent medical problems and documentation. CVS's "Minute Clinic" is the most common ambulatory clinic in KC. Another popular one is Saint Luke's "Convenient Care Center." Generally, patients go to walk-in clinics for several reasons:
- They have an urgent medical problem and cannot get into their primary care physician.
- They have a medical problem and have no insurance.
- They have a medical problem but don't have a primary care physician.
- It's cheaper and faster for simple tasks, such as school physicals, vaccination updates, and other work or school required issues.
The following is not meant to discourage patients from using walk-in clinics. That being said, Minute Clinics et al are not the correct solution for everyone!
First, a walk-in clinic is for patients who can easily get around town on their own. If you're housebound for any reason, it's impractical to go to a Minute Clinic for non-emergent medical care. If transportation is an issue, getting to your primary care doctor is equally problematic. This can be a serious problem if one develops a urinary tract infection; ear infection; or bad sinusitis.
That's where RSHC comes in! We provide ambulatory and urgent care by coming to you. If you develop a problem that needs medical attention, we can see you - at your home - the same day or the next. Work and school physicals are performed at our clinic site (for a reduced fee), and you can leave with your paperwork in hand. Occasionally, we can even treat certain medical issues through our tele-med options (e.g. online video conference).
If you're only interested in the details, scroll to the bottom. Otherwise, let us share with you our concerns regarding walk-in clinics and why RSHC's options may be a better solution.
PROS & CONS OF WALK-IN CLINICS
If you're a young, generally healthy person without transportation issues, then by all means, use walk-in clinics to your advantage! They are far cheaper than an ER visit and no appointment is required.
Walk-ins are staffed by Nurse Practitioners (NPs) and Physician Assistants (PAs). They are qualified to diagnose standard, non-emergent, non-chronic medical problems. They can also write prescriptions for antibiotics, inhalers, and other common medications.
Per Saint Luke's website, the base cost for a walk-in visit ranges $69-79 (for patients with a high-deductible insurance plan or who are paying cash). In most walk-in clinics, additional fees (above the baseline cost) are collected for any procedures or testing performed. For example, removing a foreign body from an ear? That's a whopping $120 through Saint Luke's! By the end of the visit (pending the reason you went), your final cost could be closer to $200.
Keep in mind, a walk-in clinic visit focuses only on one issue. They will not address any other medical concerns outside the reason you arrived. Therefore, if something else is problematic (e.g. you're there for sinusitis and your blood sugar is >800), that issue will be passed on to the ER or your doctor. Additionally, these clinics are not good at recognizing critical situations or dealing with any kind of chronic medical condition. For example, if a person with congestive heart failure (CHF) went to a walk-in clinic on account of painfully swollen ankles, the patient would likely be encouraged to go to the ER or wait to see his normal physician.
WHEN RSHC IS THE BETTER OPTION
We have a simple care plan for basic, walk-in clinic issues (as defined in Table A): Same or next-day appointments within normal business hours are $150. All other times (nights and weekends), are $200.
Why are our costs higher than a walk-in clinic? Because we come to you and will spend 30 minutes addressing your medical concerns (instead of 15) with the option of upgrading to a full in-home clinician visit if needed. We also follow up with each patient within 24 hours.
Here are the situations when a call to RSHC will probably be cheaper and safer than a walk-in clinic:
WHAT DOES AN ACUTE CARE VISIT COST?