What Does COVID-19 Look Like for Urgent Cares?

April 30, 2020

Urgent care centers around the country are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. These clinics are screening and testing patients. The offices also refer them to emergency rooms when necessary. The pandemic has forced urgent care facilities to change the way they operate for the time being. Steps are being taken to protect employees and patients during this difficult time.

Urgent care on the frontlines of COVID-19

Urgent care facilities currently have two main objectives for COVID-19. First, the facilities want to limit the spread of this highly contagious disease. Second, the facilities want to ensure that sick patients receive the necessary treatment. To accomplish both objectives, offices have changed business models for the time being.

Telehealth screenings

Urgent care facilities realize that reducing the number of patients in waiting rooms is vital. Having fewer people in waiting rooms slows the spread of the disease. Many urgent care offices use online screening and telehealth to determine if people are likely to have coronavirus. Those who do not pass the screening might have to go to a testing facility instead of the office.

Limiting the time in waiting rooms

Many urgent care offices are also allowing patients to wait in vehicles in the parking lot after checking in. Also, many are offering curbside service. These practices reduce the time spent in the waiting room. The methods protect patients and providers.

Providing masks when necessary

Some urgent care facilities provide protective masks for patients. Patients can call ahead before going to the appointment. The screening takes place during the call. Then, a staff member meets the patient at the door and provides the mask if needed. As an added precaution, these facilities also wipe down the door handles and everything else the patient touches.

Ruling out other conditions

Urgent care centers are also playing a vital role in providing flu tests for patients. Many people who think they have coronavirus have seasonal flu. After consulting with the provider, patients can come in for the flu test. If the flu test comes back negative, the facility might recommend a coronavirus test.

Dealing with overflow patients

COVID-19 has overwhelmed medical facilities. Some states allow retired providers to join the fight against the disease. These providers do not need to undergo the recertification process. This puts them on the frontlines now. Hospitals need this to meet current patient demand.

Urgent care facilities help overwhelmed hospitals by providing other types of care. For example, patients with urinary tract infections or animal bites can visit the urgent care facility. This takes the strain from the overburdened hospitals. It also makes it easier for hospitals to care for COVID-19 patients.

Urgent care facilities are part of the team fighting COVID-19

Urgent care facilities always play an important role in health care. That role is on the frontlines during the COVID-19 crisis. Many facilities have changed business practices for the time being. These facilities also take the burden off overwhelmed hospitals. With urgent care facilities on the frontlines, the system runs smoother. This helps everyone receive the necessary care.

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