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Urgent Care 101 for Denver, CO

Healthcare stats, facts & trends in the Mile High City

  • Types of Walk-In Clinics in Denver

    Urgent care clinics are intended to fill a gap in the healthcare industry. This gap lies between emergency care and primary care. People have started to ask where they should go if they have an illness or injury that is not life-threatening but needs attention sooner rather than later.

    Walk-in clinics in Denver can be broken down into a few categories. It is a good idea to know the difference between them when you are wondering which walk-in clinic you should visit.

    Denver offers several different options for medical care.

    • Urgent Care Clinics. Run by either a doctor or another medical professional, urgent care centers are often open 24 hours a day, similar to an emergency room. They allow patients to be examined immediately for moderate illnesses and injuries.
    • Dispatch Medical Services. Denver is home to several dispatch medical service providers. Their teams perform house calls to check on patients who call in for urgent, but not emergency, medical conditions.
    • Retail Clinics. These are usually located inside a pharmacy chain such as Rite Aid. Retail clinics offer limited medical services like blood pressure tests, immunizations, and medication.
    • Primary Care Medical Facilities. Some primary care facilities allow walk-in appointments, either during specific hours or when a doctor has an appointment opening.
    • Community or Charity Clinics. Community or charity clinics offer free or discounted medical services to low-income patients. They may have extended hours similar to an urgent care facility, or be structured more like a primary care office.
  • How to Select the Right Clinic

    When it comes to choosing the right medical clinic, you’ll have to assess your own needs before you make a decision. Urgent care clinics serve a limited range of medical conditions. These include flu, sprains, allergic reactions, and vomiting. Essentially, they take care of the conditions that are serious enough that they can’t wait for a scheduled doctor’s appointment, but are not life-threatening.

    If you are in danger, you should head straight to the nearest emergency room. However, if you decide that urgent care is the right choice for you, there are a few things to consider. Naturally, you’ll need to decide which specific facility you want to visit.

    You should ask yourself a few questions to help make the decision:

    • How far is the clinic from me?
    • What insurance plans does it accept?
    • What medical personnel does it employ?
    • What specialty services does it offer (i.e., vaccinations, X-rays, blood tests, etc.)
    • What are its hours?
    • Does it offer walk-in appointments?
    • What do the online reviews say?

    Depending on your own medical needs, these questions should help you make a decision.

  • Highest Rated Urgent Care Centers in Denver

    Online reviews are useful for everything from restaurants to Uber drivers. However, they also are important in the healthcare industry. The following list includes the top 10 walk-in urgent care centers in Denver:

    as of February 12, 2019

  • Hours of Urgent Care Facilities in Denver

    Hours of operation of urgent care facilities in the city vary widely from location to location. There’s no universal rule for when they should be open. The result is that they get to more or less choose their own hours. If they have the staff and resources, some stay open 24 hours a day. Others have set open and close times.

    Green Valley Ranch Urgent Care Center is open weekdays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on weekends, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. NextCare Urgent Care Golden, meanwhile, is open on weekdays, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on weekends, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dispatch Health is available to accept patients daily, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

  • Urgent Care Services and Costs

    Services differ somewhat per urgent care clinic, but for the most part, you can anticipate the kind of services you will get when you go in. Urgent care facilities are made to treat conditions and injuries that need prompt attention but aren’t serious enough to put you in immediate danger.

    These include conditions like ear infections, UTI, the flu, and sprains. Individual clinics may offer other specialty services. Dispatch Health offers pediatric care in addition to providing treatments for adults like asthma treatments, blood work, X-rays, standard vaccinations like tetanus and flu shots, and laceration care. NextCare Urgent Care Golden, meanwhile, offers similar services on top of wound care, cyst removal, and burn care.

    In short, there is some versatility among the services that urgent care facilities offer. Services may depend on the clinic being considered, so it’s always a good idea to check the clinic’s website or make a call before going in to be sure your condition can be treated.

    Costs will also vary. Urgent care clinics are not just made to bridge the gap between primary and emergency care. They also generally offer lower-cost treatment than many healthcare facilities. Emergency care can quickly run up into the thousands, especially if you don’t have health insurance.

    Many urgent care locations provide itemized lists of costs for different services on their websites. Most clinics also accept some insurance plans. If your insurance isn’t accepted or if you don’t have insurance, many urgent care centers can offer you discounts or payment plans to help you get the care you need.

    To give you an idea of the range of costs you can expect to see in Denver, here are a few examples: The baseline cost for an appointment at NextCare Urgent Care Aurora is $170 while Urgent Care of Colorado Littleton charges between $45 and $165 for basic care.

  • Healthcare for Travelers in Denver

    Denver is a hugely popular tourist destination, drawing up to 30 million visitors annually. There are many attractions in the city, making overnight stays popular as well. People come to Colorado not only for the outdoor sports opportunities but also for the incredible and unique culture. From the Colorado Railroad Museum to the LoDo Historic District, people love to experience the culture of the Old West.

    Scores of visitors mean a lot of hotels, with many of them within just a few miles of an urgent care facility. The Hampton Inn and Suites Denver-Speer Boulevard is only about four miles from the nearest AFC Urgent Care facility. There are also many hotels and medical facilities located in Denver’s downtown district.

  • Healthcare for Residents in Denver

    There are also many options for urgent care for residents of Denver. The city is home to more than 600,000 people. From its mountain climate to its public services to its history, Denver offers hundreds of reasons to stay. Its top-rate medical care is only one of the reasons, and it’s a significant one.

    In addition to the urgent care clinics listed above, many other healthcare options are available for Denver residents. The Children’s Hospital of Colorado offers several urgent care locations in the city. This is extremely helpful, as most urgent care clinics cannot see children under the age of 18 months by law.

    Additionally, the University of Denver offers after-hours urgent care services for both physical and mental health concerns of its students, with a special after-hours number to call. This unique service is hugely beneficial. They do not just have medical professionals available at all hours, but also a counselor on call at any time, making it possible for students of the University of Denver to get care when they need it.

    There are also several options for charity or low-income urgent care in Denver. Not everyone can pay for their medical care, so these options make it possible for anyone to access the services they need. HealthONE is a charity medical service in Denver offering free or discount urgent care at different locations throughout the city.

    The city has also begun a program to provide affordable, accessible healthcare to children in underprivileged communities. The program, East5ide Unified, aims to close the gap in healthcare for children in communities across Denver. Although it has other goals, it has teamed with Denver Health, Saint Joseph Hospital, and Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center, among others, to learn how to improve healthcare in these neighborhoods.

    There is a significant push in Denver to learn ways to provide medical care for young people. This focus has grown since the 2017 Youth Health Assessment conducted in the city. It was conducted in response to a number of growing health concerns, including the 17 percent increase in trauma-related emergency room admissions for young people.

  • Hospitals in Denver

    Not every ailment can be treated at an urgent care clinic. Some are true emergencies and need prompt emergency care. When it comes to hospital care in Denver, residents and visitors alike also have many choices.

    St. Joseph Hospital offers every medical service imaginable, from obstetric care to cancer care, orthopedics, neurosciences, and mammography. St. Joseph’s has been a Denver institution since 1873 when it was established under the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth.

    Denver Health is another top-rated hospital with a wide range of services. It employs a highly accredited team of doctors and treats thousands of patients every year. It offers services from emergency care to pediatric medicine, immunology, addiction services, and audiology. The hospital also has the ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders and leads the region in treating patients with special needs.

    Meanwhile, the UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital has multiple locations all over Aurora, a convenient drive from the Denver proper. The university hospital offers an enormous selection of services at its different locations throughout the two cities. These services range from general and emergency care to highly specialized care.

    At the UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital, you can get treatment for everything, from burns to blood disorders. The hospital employs a team of doctors and researchers that leads many specialty areas in the state of Colorado.

    With a huge range of options for residents and visitors alike, Denver has no shortage of medical care facilities. This includes everything from urgent care facilities to highly specialized hospitals with expert teams. Whatever your medical needs are while you’re in Denver, you can be sure to find help at one of the medical facilities in the city.

  • Neighborhoods in Denver

    • Athmar Park
    • Auraria
    • Baker
    • Barnum
    • Barnum West
    • Bear Valley
    • Belcaro
    • Berkeley
    • Capitol Hill
    • Central Business District
    • Chaffee Park
    • Cheesman Park
    • Cherry Creek
    • City Park
    • City Park West
    • Civic Center
    • Clayton
    • Cole
    • College View / South Platte
    • Congress Park
    • Cory-Merrill
    • Country Club
    • Denver International Airport
    • East Colfax
    • Elyria-Swansea
    • Five Points
    • Fort Logan
    • Gateway / Green Valley Ranch
    • Globeville
    • Goldsmith
    • Hale
    • Hampden
    • Hampden South
    • Harvey Park
    • Harvey Park South
    • Highland
    • Hilltop
    • Indian Creek
    • Jefferson Park
    • Kennedy
    • Lincoln Park
    • Lowry
    • Mar Lee
    • Marston
    • Montbello
    • Montclair
    • North Capitol Hill
    • North Park Hill
    • Northeast Park Hill
    • Overland
    • Park Hill
    • Platt Park
    • Regis
    • Rosedale
    • Ruby Hill
    • Skyland
    • Sloan Lake
    • South Park Hill
    • Southmoor Park
    • Speer
    • Stapleton
    • Sun Valley
    • Sunnyside
    • Union Station
    • University
    • University Hills
    • University Park
    • Valverde
    • Villa Park
    • Virginia Village
    • Washington Park
    • Washington Park West
    • Washington Virginia Vale
    • Wellshire
    • West Colfax
    • West Highland
    • Westwood
    • Whittier
    • Windsor
  • Zip Codes in Denver

  • Nearby Cities

Urgent Care FAQs

  • What is urgent care?

    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.

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  • When should I go to the urgent care vs emergency room (ER)?

    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.

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  • What's the difference between an urgent care and walk-in clinic?

    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.

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  • How much does an urgent care cost?

    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.

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  • Is insurance accepted at urgent care centers?

    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.

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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.