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Patients should expect longer waits at area urgent cares

Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 4:15 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Those visiting area urgent cares should expect longer wait times.

“Our patient volumes are actually higher recently than they have been pre-pandemic,” Dr. Richard Hodge said, Medical Director of UnityPoint Urgent Care in the Cedar Rapids area.

More people visiting urgent cares is making for longer waits. That’s the case at UnityPoint clinics where Dr. Hodge told us waits can be up to a half hour, and even longer at the express locations.

“Not only are we seeing the COVID cases but we’re seeing a lot of other respiratory illnesses with people just being out and around now for the first time in basically two years,” Dr. Hodge explained.

Mercy in Cedar Rapids said they are experiencing longer waits at their urgent care clinics as well.

“MercyCare Urgent Care locations have experienced a significant increase in patient volume over the last four months than over that same time period last year. Increased illness combined with ongoing staffing challenges, as experienced by healthcare organizations across the country, has resulted in some longer than normal wait times. However, we continue to encourage patients to seek the care they need; prolonging care can make it worse. Our staff is committed to meeting the healthcare needs of the community and we thank our patients for their patience and understanding during this busy time. We continue to have multiple locations and capacity to serve,” Mercy said in a statement.

MercyOne urgent cares in Northeast Iowa, which includes Waterloo and Cedar Falls, are experiencing longer waits too.

“By knowing the volumes you know people are having to wait an hour or more, more often than we’d like to see,” Dr. Mathew Sojka said, VP of Medical Affairs & Chief Medical Officer at MercyOne in Northeast Iowa.

There are a couple things people can do to avoid too much time in a waiting room.

Dr. Sojka recommends those who can, consider telehealth.

“Then you get an appointment end of the day, over a lunch hour, to maybe take care of some of the more minor things and not have to come in,” he explained.

UnityPoint is encouraging people to check online, where they can put their name in a queue and wait for a phone call letting them know it’s their turn to be seen.

“We are doing our best to see everybody who comes in the front door and I think for the most part people are being patient and understanding,” Dr. Hodge said.

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