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Urgent Care 101 for Phoenix, AZ
Healthcare stats, facts & trends in the Valley of the Sun
Types of Walk-In Clinics in Phoenix
As urgent care centers made themselves more prevalent in the Phoenix market in the early 2000s, the question was mostly about urgent care vs the ER and when you should go to each. With consumers getting more comfortable with that understanding (largely contributed to by the rising costs and frustrating patient experience at hospital emergency rooms!) and the rise of retail clinics across the valley, the question now is more about which type of walk-in clinic should I visit?
In Phoenix, you generally have 5 types of walk-in clinics:
- Urgent care centers. Usually staffed by a medical doctor, open 7 days a week and has both imaging and diagnostic equipment on-site.
- Pediatric urgent care centers. The same services as a regular urgent care, but with staff trained and facilities designed to treat infants to young adults.
- Retail clinics. Located in a retail pharmacy, staffed by a nurse practitioner or other mid-level and addresses only minor illnesses and vaccinations.
- Primary care offices. Your general primary care provider which may offer walk-in hours sometime during the week, usually for sick visits only.
- Occupational medicine clinics. Mostly contract-based relationships with employers to handle services like work injuries, drug screenings, etc.
- Community clinics. Government and non-profit healthcare clinics, usually in impoverished communities with services available at low or no cost to patients.
Each of these walk-in clinic types are found in the Phoenix metro area and they are all intended to fill the gap in healthcare between primary care and emergency care, addressing minor injuries and illnesses of patients.
How to Select the Right Clinic
The first question to ask yourself is whether an urgent care clinic is right for you. As noted above, Phoenix offers a variety of non-emergent healthcare options for walk-in patients. Here is a quick chart to help you determine which type of walk-in clinic you should be visiting.
Once you have determined which clinic type is most applicable for you, you then need to select which specific location to visit. Ask yourself these important evaluation questions:
- Where is the clinic center located?
- Do they accept my insurance?
- What type of providers work at the clinic?
- What hours are they open?
- Does the clinic allow me to book a visit in advance, or will I just walk in?
- What are other patients saying about the clinic in online reviews?
Each person may rank the importance of each of these questions differently. For instance, location may be the single most important factor as you aren’t willing to drive across the Valley for a higher rated clinic. Others would be willing to make the drive from Glendale to Scottsdale for a clinic that accepts their insurance and is open right now. Use your own method for weighting the importance of each criteria.
Highest Rated Urgent Care Centers in Phoenix
The importance of online ratings and reviews can’t be denied. In fact, many consumers say that online ratings are just as, if not more important than recommendations for their friends and family. Based on the ratings on Solv, the following are the top 10 highest rated urgent care clinics in Phoenix:
- NextCare Urgent Care, Sun City (4.9 stars from 648 ratings)
- Alliance Urgent Care, Goodyear (4.8 stars from 250 ratings)
- NextCare Urgent Care, Peoria (4.8 stars from 626 ratings)
- NextCare Urgent Care, Mesa (E McKellips Rd) (4.8 stars from 403 ratings)
- Alliance Urgent Care, Peoria (4.8 stars from 221 ratings)
- NextCare Urgent Care, Phoenix (19th Avenue) (4.8 stars from 530 ratings)
- NextCare Urgent Care, Phoenix (E Indian School Rd) (4.7 stars from 456 ratings)
- NextCare Urgent Care, Mesa (E Baseline Rd) (4.7 stars from 302 ratings)
- NextCare Urgent Care, North Mesa (4.7 stars from 595 ratings)
- NextCare Urgent Care, Ocotillo (4.7 stars from 426 ratings)
as of January 23, 2019
Hours of Urgent Care in Phoenix
Some urgent care facilities are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Others may have more limited hours, and they may also close their doors for major holidays or inclement weather (unlike emergency rooms, which are always up and running). The hours depend largely on the individual facility, so if you are unsure if an urgent care location is open, you can always check online or call ahead.
Hours may even vary between two facilities that belong to the same company. For example, NextCare on Thomas Road is open daily from 8 a.m. to midnight, while the NextCare in Mesa is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. Meanwhile, all local Alliance Urgent Care locations are open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and until 5 p.m. on weekends.
While every clinic is different, most urgent care centers are open 10-12 hours daily with their busiest days being on Monday and Friday. In Phoenix, when looking at an aggregate of all urgent care centers, below is an chart of average busy hours.
Again, every clinic is different, but patients typically flock to the clinic just after they open, during their lunch hour, and right when they get off work. If you have flexibility, you may consider aiming for the slower periods. Or, better yet, use Solv to find a book a clinic visit online to mitigate the wait you would experience as a walk-in patient. We find that booking in advance cuts the average patients wait time by half, or more.
Urgent Care Services and Costs
Urgent care facilities in Phoenix treat illness and injuries, such as sprains, broken bones, influenza, coughs and colds, and allergic reactions, as well as vomiting, stomach pain, cuts, burns, and animal bites and stings. NextCare Urgent Care and Alliance Urgent Care also offer well visits, yearly physicals, and vaccinations, including the flu shot. Alliance also offers X-ray services, as well as abscess removal, breathing treatments, and ear wax drainage. NextCare offers pregnancy and drug testing, as well as urine and diagnostic tests.
Below is a chart of the top 10 reasons for urgent care visits in Phoenix. While this list will vary throughout the year - flu season really spikes between January and Marcy, for instance - this is an annualized look.
Depending on what services you need for a healthcare provider - and whether or not you have health insurance - the cost of an urgent care visit could range considerably. Urgent care centers in Phoenix generally offer basic pricing for an office visit with additional charges for any extra services. These prices can range anywhere from $25 to $170 depending on the treatments they require and the urgent care facility they visit. As examples, the base price at Alliance Urgent Care is $90, while NextCare charges a flat rate of $170 for an office visit. These are out-of-pocket prices and do not include any insurance coverage. If you have commercial insurance, your copay is usually determined by your insurer, but is usually the same as visiting a specialist and typically ranges between $25-50.
It is important to consider that these are just the base price for the office visit. If you need blood or lab tests, x-rays, or other diagnostic services, or if you need a stitches, a splint, or casting for your injury, these services will have different costs and should be discussed with you during your visit.
Healthcare for Travelers in Phoenix
Phoenix is a popular tourist destination with many things to do. Many people travel there for the Southwestern lifestyle and the beautiful desert views, especially the nearby cycling, rock climbing, hiking opportunities, as well as numerous world-renowned golf courses. Each of these activities are incredibly relaxing and/or invigorating, but also could pose health and safety risks. If you are traveling to Phoenix, use Solv to find an urgent care near you either in advance or when you need it.
There are many great hotels in the wider Phoenix area, many of them within easy travel distance of an urgent care facility. For example, Residence Inn Phoenix is less than two miles from the nearest urgent care. Meanwhile, many of Phoenix’s largest hotels are found in the downtown area, including the Westin Phoenix Downtown, Sheraton Grand Phoenix, the Arizona Biltmore, and Double Inn and Suites.
Healthcare for Residents in Phoenix
There are so many reasons why people who live in Phoenix love to call it home. From beautiful views to easy access to three states (as well as Mexico), to the best big-city traffic in the country, Phoenix residents are lucky.
When it comes to urgent care options, Phoenix is yet again an amazing place to be. In addition to regular urgent care facilities, Phoenix also has several pediatric urgent care centers. This is significant since most standard urgent cares cannot accept patients under the age of 18 months. Good Night Pediatrics and Phoenix Children’s are both great options for medical care for infants and children.
Meanwhile, for college students, Banner University offers urgent care services to treat asthma, minor injuries, animal bites, flu symptoms, and fever.
There are also a number of social services throughout Maricopa County dedicated to helping you find prompt, excellent medical care. The local Healthcare For The Homeless program helps those without stable living situations access treatment. There are also social services that work in conjunction with Arizona Children’s, a hospital that serves sick children.
Hospitals in Phoenix
When it comes to hospitals, there is again no shortage of options in Phoenix. The city has a total of 24 hospitals, both general and specialty. That doesn’t even count the hospitals in the broader valley. Among these are the Arizona Heart Institute, Barrow Neurological Institute, Mayo Clinic Hospital, and St. Luke’s Medical Center.
The largest hospital in Phoenix is Banner University Medical Center. Founded in 1911, it currently has a medical staff of more than 1,600 physicians and more than 3,000 medical personnel in total. It serves more than 175,000 patients every year.
Banner Health is also a nonprofit hospital. In fact, it is the largest nonprofit in the state of Arizona. Other nonprofit hospitals in Phoenix include John C. Lincoln Deer Valley Hospital, Mayo Clinic Hospital, and Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
Phoenix also has several charity clinics that offer medical care for those in need. Phoenix Allies for Community Health (PACH) offers services to those without medical insurance who cannot get care at most facilities. The Phoenix chapter of A Mission of Mercy helps people get prescription medications at no cost. Those without insurance can find specialty care from dentistry to gynecology, ultrasounds, X-rays, and more at The Neighborhood Christian Clinic.
Urgent Care FAQs
Urgent care are available to assist patients that are looking for immediate, convenient medical care. In that manner, they are similar to an emergency room. The difference, however, is that ERs are meant to treat major, life-threatening injuries and illnesses while urgent care centers manage life’s minor bruises and bumps. In simple terms, an urgent care is seen as a walk-in health center that focuses in offering non-emergent health care conditions, including the treatment of the typical illnesses and injuries such as fractures and sprains, cuts and burns, scrapes, stings and bites, flu and cold symptoms, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, and much more. Most urgent care facilities offer both diagnostic and preventive care such as well visits, immunizations, STD testing and annual physicals. For regular visits and check-ups on these clinics, you should expect to pay between $20 and $100. The good thing is that most urgent care clinics will accept major PPOs and insurance cover, Medicare, as well as self-pay in the form of credit cards or cash. Urgent care clinics are located in most parts of the country in various regions to offset emergency room visits and provide a gap in healthcare services. They take patients during all hours of operations, which offer a significant convenience to most people who have and continue to undergo the need for sudden and immediate medical attention.Read All
Urgent care facilities are seen as a combination between an emergency room (ER) and a PCP (Primary Care Physicians), serving the instant and after hours requirements of neighboring patients. Most urgent care clinics even say that they can diagnose and treat up to seventy-five percent of the patients who visit an emergency room. The primary difference between an ER and Urgent care is the experience of the patient. The average waiting time in an ER is almost 2.5 hours while waiting time in urgent care is between 15 and 45 minutes. The cost of urgent care is usually a fraction of what you would pay in an emergency room. It is advisable to visit an emergency room in situations of medical emergency because urgent care clinics are meant for minor and non-emergent illnesses and injuries.Read All
You will often see the terms urgent care clinic, retail clinic, immediate care clinic, walk-in clinic, and convenient clinic being interchangeably used nowadays. The emergence of emergency rooms complicated the conversation. A walk-in clinic is a type of clinic in which patients can walk-in with no advance appointment. An urgent care clinic, on the other hand, denotes a subgroup of the walk-in clinic model that typically provides extended hours, extended services and abilities as well as on-site lab tests and x-rays.Read All
The price charged in urgent care will be based on the location, and there are no actual standard costs between the clinics. Assuming you are paying with cash, you might come across an urgent clinic that charges you $50 while another situated some mile away charges you $100 for the same services. The standard cost in urgent care where insurance cover is not involved ranges from $100 to $125. This price is generally the standard price of a visit before extra services. There are a couple of additional care services that could make your appointment to an urgent care costly including x-rays and lab tests, medications and injections (such as immunization), casting broken bones, as well as stitches and splints. If you have a viable insurance plan in place, the standard pay will be between $20 – 50 depending on your insurance coverage and whether you are in contact with the provider.Read All
All insurance providers indicate whether their plan covers urgent care facilities or not. Individual clinics and providers may or may not possess a relationship with a particular plan. This aspect makes the scenario complicated. In most situations, insurance providers will cover the urgent care centers, and patients will be needed to pay a co-payment every time they visit the facility. In other rare occasions, it is common for the urgent care facilities to reject some insurance plans even if the provider has indicated that they will pay for the costs incurred. With these uncertainties, it is always advisable to call urgent care centers in advance to determine whether they accept specific insurance plans or not.Read All
Urgent Care Guide
In a recent survey conducted with the Urgent Care Association, Solv found that patients were waiting an average of 24 days for appointments with their primary care provider. In a world of instant gratification, consumers demand more. They demand now. If you want to watch a movie, you download it in minutes or stream it instantly. If you need groceries, you can pick up your phone and have them delivered to you within the hour. If you need restaurant reservations, you find one with availability, book online, walk in minutes later and sit right down. Healthcare shouldn’t be any different.
That’s why urgent care has been growing at a faster pace than any other healthcare service in the United States. And it is why healthcare consumers search for “urgent care” more than 5x more than “primary care” or “family doctor,” combined. These consumers are highly actionable, searching with high intent terms like “urgent care near me.” They want same day access to quality healthcare providers when they are sick or injured - after hours, one weekends and on holidays - without the cost and inconvenience of the emergency room.
Urgent care centers typically treat minor illnesses like the flu, sinus infections and strep throat, as well as injuries like bone fractures and sprains, cuts, scrapes and burns, making these clinics ideal for diagnosing and treating non-emergent healthcare needs. And at a growing rate urgent care clinics are offering preventative care services including annual physicals and well visits, flu shots and other immunizations and vaccines, taking on the role of primary care provider for the tens of millions of consumers that don’t have one.
For kids there are special pediatric urgent care centers, usually open after hours for patients between the ages of 1 and 18.
Services & Pricing
Urgent care centers, which are part of the walk-in clinic healthcare category, are a convenient resource for consumers needing treatment for minor illnesses and injuries. Services that you would normally receive at your primary care office are usually available at an urgent care including annual and school physicals, flu shots and immunizations, treatment for illnesses including colds, flu stomach pains, sinus and ear infections and more. You can also be seen for injuries such as burns, bites, sprains and breaks - things that you might first thing to go to the emergency room vs urgent care, but you’ll have a shorter wait and smaller bill at the urgent care. As for cost, without insurance, you should expect between $100-140 for your visit, plus the cost of any labs, tests or images. With insurance, urgent care will be similar to seeing a specialist with applicable co-pay.
Insurance & Payments
Nearly all urgent care centers take commercial insurance and many (if not most) will take medicare. As such if you have insurance coverage, you can expect the financial experience to be similar to visiting a specialist where you have a co-pay, usually $35-50, due at the time of the visit. Any additional lab work, x-rays or other tests performed will be billed against your insurance first and any supplemental balance due will be invoiced to you after the fact. Without insurance, you’ll pay a visit fee between $100-140 at the time of your visit. This is typically 25-50% more than your primary care provider, but usually the convenience is well worth the additional cost. If you are interested in a telehealth or video visit, your cost could be as much as 50% less than an urgent care, you could be diagnosed and prescribed medication and you’ll never have to leave your home.
Hours & Wait Times
Every urgent care center - even those part of the same group or brand - may have different hours. While they are meant to be conveniently accessible during times when your primary care provider is not, that’s subjective and highly variable. A traditional formula, however, is that an urgent care is open 6 to 7 days a week usually between the hours of 8 am to 8 pm. That could shift to nearly any 8-12 hour period between 7 am and 10 pm. You’ll even find some clinics open 24 hours a day, similar to an emergency room. As for wait time, most patients report waiting between 15-45 minutes on average, but that can certainly vary, as well. It’s usually best to find an urgent care near you to either confirm the hours online, or call the clinic directly to verify. Or, you can book a same day doctor appointment online with Solv.