On Friday morning, while walking my dog, I tripped. I landed on my hands and on my chin. I was relatively unscathed, but my left hand hurt a bit, was sensitive to touch, and became bruised and swollen.
I told myself that if I didn’t feel I could hit the gym with it today, I would go see a doctor to make sure I hadn’t broken it. So I went to an ‘Urgent Care Center’, run by a company called Concentra. I found them via my insurer’s website.
Normally, I would just have made an appointment with my normal doc, where he would tell me my hand is probably fine, but he’d send me to get an x-ray, just to be sure. That would have taken a minimum of 4 hours. (I’ve done it before). The doctor appointment is an hour, then I have to drive to Essex and wait to get an x-ray. Then, they send the pics to my doc, who could call me tomorrow with an answer. I have no idea what this would cost (it would cost me a $10 copay), but I’m sure several hundred dollars.
Who knows what an emergency room would have cost, but I know it would have taken all day.
Instead, I gave ‘Urgent Care’ a try. Now, my insurance plan this year has changed, and I have a high deductible plan, so know I’m paying for this little trip today, either now or later. What’s neat about Concentra: their prices are posted. I knew walking in that a doctor visit with an x-ray would cost about $200.
I walked into their office a bit after 1:30. I walked out at 3:30 with a shiny new ace bandage, a prescription for a painkiller, and a diagnosis of a sprain, and had paid $110.
Given the high value of my time, I’m thrilled with the experience, and would recommend Concentra any time you need speedy medical care that doesn’t require an emergency room. I also think this should be the future of medical care; posted prices, fast service, and leave the complicated stuff to specialists.
Not a bit of that would require 2000 pages of legislation.
Update: 75 minutes after I left their office, they called my home and cell phones, just to make sure my experience met my expectations.