The Three Advantages of a Walk in Clinic

A walk in clinic offers an alternative to hospital emergency rooms for less serious injuries and illnesses. However, many people are still not aware of this option and its advantages. Urgent care does not require an appointment, so services are provided at a quicker and more flexible pace. People who are uninsured may find this health care facility to be more affordable than other options.

A Clinic for Common Injuries

According to Shawn Evans, MD, an emergency medical physician, it’s common to see people go to the ER for after-hours care on minor injuries without realizing there is another option available.

A walk-in clinic is available for injuries that need immediate care but are not considered serious enough to warrant a visit to the emergency room. Most injuries that are treated at an urgent care center include minor burns, minor fractures, falls, accidents, infections, sprains, cuts, and common illnesses such as a cold or flu. Many clinics also provide diagnostic services that require the use of X-rays, and lab tests. A person should go to the emergency room or call 911 if their injury or illness is possibly life threatening or requires immediate attention, such as a serious head injury, or a possible heart attack or stroke.

More Flexible For Individual Needs

Accidents and illnesses can happen unexpectedly. Scheduling the next available time to see a physician is not always feasible. Due to the fact that an urgent care center is available on a walk-in basis, a person can seek immediate attention rather than wait for their doctor’s next available appointment. In fact, this is why the walk in clinic was established. The main objective is to fill a gap for when a person is sick or injured, but unable to reach their doctor. Also, a walk in clinic would have more flexible hours and can be open on weekends and in the evening. The waiting period at most urgent care centers also tends to be shorter. Since the services provided at an urgent care center tend to a less broad range of medical issues to treat, the average wait time is 15 to 45 minutes, compared to the 2.4 hour wait time in an emergency waiting room.

More Affordable

While the ER can provide sufficient care for any medical issue, it can leave a deep hole in many wallets, especially as the cost of healthcare continues to rise. For many people who are uninsured, a local walk-in clinic can provide quality care at a more affordable price. According to Cigna Medical Group, a person that visits the ER can expect to pay up to three times more than an urgent care center. While the cost of an ER visit can vary depending on the medical issue and treatment needed, a National Institute of Health study determined the average cost for a trip to the emergency room is more than $1,200. On the other hand, an uninsured person can visit an urgent care center for the same issue, receive quality care, and pay between $50 and $130 for the entire visit.

Five Reasons to Plan Ahead for Medical Care

Medical care is one of many things that young Americans tend to take for granted. You can visit a hospital or urgent care center when you get sick, but young, healthy people are generally more focused on other pursuits like education, careers, and relationships. Unforeseen medical needs, however, can derail a life that is otherwise on track. Here are some of the most important reasons to plan in advance for medical care.

1. Needing medical attention may affect your ability to earn money.

Whether it’s a chronic disease or an injury that only needs a few months of bed rest, significant health problems can affect a person’s ability to continue working. Some jobs are too physically demanding, and some conditions may make it impossible even to get out of bed. Individuals with stable, lucrative careers may forget that a serious injury can make it necessary to take months away from the office.

2. Some injuries and illnesses come without warning.

Relatively young and active people are more prone to feeling that they only need the bare minimum amount of health insurance coverage. Unfortunately, those same populations are particularly likely to engage in risky behaviors that result in traumatic and often debilitating injuries. Racing motorcycles and extreme sports are two examples wherein thrill-seeking young people make risky choices.

Individuals who make relatively safe choices and avoid extreme sports are still at risk of developing physical conditions that require expensive treatment. Cardiovascular problems and cancer can sometimes reach advanced stages before a patient gets a diagnosis. While any sharp or persistent pain can be worth mentioning to a doctor, patients often dismiss symptoms as common discomforts.

3. It can be more expensive than you expect.

As the result of generations of for-profit healthcare in America, the expense of treatment can seem disproportionate to products and services involved. It can be hard to see the whole picture, especially when you go to a large hospital network with a lot of overhead and liability coverage. Ongoing care for chronic conditions can add up over years of treatment.

4. Not all insurance coverage plans are the same.

Focused on getting the premiums as low as possible, young people often want only the bare minimum coverage. When unexpected problems arise, they may be surprised by the downsides of minimum coverage. Not only does a patient often have a higher deductible, but also they may find that the insurance company has a limit to how much they will pay.

5. Medical coverage is now a requirement.

The federal government’s online marketplace is a good location to learn more about coverage options. You can find out about the next open enrollment period, as well as plans for individuals and families.

Ultimately, medical care is an important concern for people of all ages. Parents make sure that their kids go to the necessary doctor’s appointments, and schools all the way up to universities require certain immunizations. It’s when youths are newly independent that they feel that coverage is an unnecessary expense. Still, planning is an important consideration, even for people with limited funds.

Community Needs Health Assessment

In 2012 the Internal Revenue Service mandated that all non-profit hospitals undertake a community health needs assessment (CHNA) that year and every three years thereafter. Further, these hospitals need to file a report every year thereafter detailing the progress that the community is making towards meeting the indicated needs. This type of assessment is a prime example of primary prevention strategy in population health management. Primary prevention strategies focus on preventing the occurrence of diseases or strengthen the resistance to diseases by focusing on environmental factors generally.

I believe that it is very fortunate that non-profit hospitals are carrying out this activity in their communities. By assessing the needs of the community and by working with community groups to improve the health of the community great strides can be made in improving public health, a key determinant of one’s overall health. As stated on the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Blue Shirt Blog (CHNAs and Beyond: Hospitals and Community Health Improvement), “There is growing recognition that the social determinants of health – where we live, work, and play, the food we eat, the opportunities we have to work and exercise and live in safety – drive health outcomes. Of course, there is a large role for health care to play in delivering health care services, but it is indisputable that the foundation of a healthy life lies within the community. To manage true population health – that is, the health of a community – hospitals and health systems must partner with a broad spectrum of stakeholders who share ownership for improving health in our communities.” I believe that these types of community involvement will become increasingly important as reimbursement is driven by value.

Historically, healthcare providers have managed the health of individuals and local health departments have managed the community environment to promote healthy lives. Now, with the IRS requirement, the work of the two are beginning to overlap. Added to the recent connection of the two are local coalitions and community organizations, such as religious organizations.

The community in which I live provides an excellent example of the new interconnections of various organizations to collectively improve the health of the community. In 2014 nine non-profits, including three hospitals, in Kent County, Michigan conducted a CHNA of the county to assess the strengths and weaknesses of health in the county and to assess the community’s perceptions of the pressing health needs. The assessment concluded that the key areas of focus for improving the health of the community are:

· Mental health issues

· Poor nutrition and obesity

· Substance abuse

· Violence and safety

At this time the Kent County Health Department has begun developing a strategic plan for the community to address these issues. A wide variety of community groups have begun meeting monthly to form this strategic plan. There are four work groups, one for each of the key areas of focus. I am involved in the Substance Abuse workgroup as a representative of one of my clients, Kent Intermediate School District. Other members include a substance abuse prevention coalition, a Federally qualified health center, a substance abuse treatment center and the local YMCA, among others. The local hospitals are involved in other workgroups. One of the treatment group representatives is a co-chair of our group. The health department wants to be sure that the strategic plan is community driven.

At the first meeting the health department leadership stated that the strategic plan must be community driven. This is so in order that the various agencies in the community will buy into the strategic plan and will work cooperatively to provide the most effective prevention and treatment services without overlap. The dollars spent on services will be more effective if the various agencies work to enhance each others’ work, to the extent possible.

At this time the Substance Abuse work group is examining relevant data from the 2014 CHNA survey and from other local resources. The epidemiologist at the health department is reviewing relevant data with the group so that any decisions about the goals of the strategic plan will be data driven. Using data to make decisions is one of the keystones of the group’s operating principles. All objectives in the strategic plan will be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound (SMART).

Once the strategic plan is finished, the groups will continue with implementation of the plan, evaluating the outcomes of the implementation and adjusting the plan as needed in light of evaluation. As one can see, the workgroups of the CHNA are following the classic Plan-Do-Check-Act process. This process has been shown time and again in many settings-healthcare, business, manufacturing, et al-to produce excellent outcomes when properly followed.

As noted above I recommend that healthcare providers become involved with community groups to apply population level health management strategies to improve the overall health of the community. One good area of involvement is the Community Health Needs Assessment project being implemented through the local health department and non-profit hospitals.

How Can Legionnaires’ Testing Benefit Your Business?

Every business, whether it’s in the food industry or not, needs to make sure that their drinking water is not exposed to Legionella bacteria. A proper testing must be conducted by certified professionals in order to see if the water is Legionella proof. Workers whose tasks involved water service as well as other related tasks like maintenance and treatment are particularly vulnerable to Legionnaires’ disease. These may include employees working on warm water systems like those found in hotels, manufacturing sites, hospitals, spas, resorts, and cruise ships.

Even office workers can still be vulnerable to Legionnaires’ disease and can certainly benefit from routine testing of the premises as well as its water system. This is because most offices use appliances and systems which can facilitate the growth of Legionella bacteria. These include washrooms, cooling units, drinking machines, toilets, and large water pipelines.

As a business owner, it is well within your legal and moral responsibility to ensure that the appropriate strategies are enforced in order to prevent Legionnaires’ disease in the workplace, including the use of Showerhead Plus. It does not matter how high or low the level of risk is in your workplace; as long as water is used and stored in the premises, there is a risk. It is your duty to protect every person who comes into the workplace, regardless of whether they are your employees, clients or guests.

Another way to look at Legionella testing and risk management is to view it as an investment for your business. When you adhere to occupational health and safety best practices, your company can reap a diverse number of benefits, ranging from high employee morale and productivity to customer loyalty and trust.

Protecting your business and employees against Legionnaires’ disease should not cost you a substantial amount of money. In fact, there are simple yet effective and affordable methods that can be used for Legionella testing. The processes and methods involved will vary depending on the industry your business is in as well as the unique characteristics of your business’s premises. However, for most workplaces, a high quality testing kit for Legionella will often suffice. These legally compliant water testing kits entail the collection of water samples from the workplace. After the water samples have been collected, these will be brought to accredited laboratories for testing. Once the results come in, you can now decide which strategies to enforce, following the recommendations of the experts.

All About Urgent Care Centers

An urgent care center is a place where you visit when you are suffering from an acute injury or illness. An acute injury is a condition that requires attention but isn’t severe enough for you to take a trip to an emergency room. They are usually staffed by nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, front desk receptionists and other professionals aimed at giving you the best service. While there are a few urgent care centers that are hospital-affiliated, most of the centers are independently owned and operated.

Conditions that can be treated

The centers treat a wide range of acute medical conditions such as:

· High fever

· Accidents and falls

· Back problems

· Breathing difficulties

· Severe abdominal pain

· Mild to moderate asthma

· Vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration

· Sprains and broken bones

· Bleeding/cuts

Why choose urgent care centers

From their name, they provide you with urgent care and give you the service that you are looking for thus getting you out of danger. Another advantage of the centers is that they attend to walk-ins; therefore, you don’t have to make appointments. Since health complications are sudden, you are served when the need arises. The cool thing is that most of them have flexible working hours where they are open most days of the week and they operate from the morning until late in the evening.

The centers come equipped with laboratories and X-ray machines that help with the diagnosis so that you can get the medication that you are interested in. Cost is a major issue when it comes to health care. Since the centers cater for people suffering from acute health conditions, they are usually fairly priced.

The staff working in these centers is usually trained on handling medical conditions that require immediate care; therefore, you shouldn’t worry about not receiving top notch and immediate care when you visit them.

Tips on how to deal with urgent care clinics

For you to have a great experience you need to do a number of things. One of the things that you should do is never take life-threatening conditions to an urgent care center. Conditions such as unconsciousness, severe bleeding, chest pain, severe burns, and poisoning are better handled in an emergency room (ER); therefore, if your loved one is suffering from a life threatening condition you should call 911 immediately.

Unless you regularly visit an urgent care center it’s rare that the center will have your medical records. To make it easy for the physicians to handle your case it’s always wise that you carry your records with you when visiting the centers. If you are taking any medications, go with them in the centers.


There are many urgent care centers but no two are the same. Before you visit any first research and find the most reputable one.