More urgent care centers open in Eastern Iowa

Published: Nov. 30, 2016 at 4:38 PM CST
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In a world where people love getting things instantly, it seems the health care field is trying to fill that need. The American Academy of Urgent Care Medicine says that is one of the reasons driving the growth in Urgent Care Centers across the nation.

Eastern Iowa is not immune to this growth. On Wednesday, Unity Point Allen Hospital opened an Urgent Care center in Cedar Falls. Unity Point - Finley will open an urgent care clinic in Dubuque next week.

They are part of the 50 to 100 urgent care clinics that open each year in the U.S. And more than 9000 centers have opened in the U.S. since 2008.

Unity Point Finley Hospital President David Brandon says goal is to give more people an alternative to going to the Emergency Room, if they don't really need to.

But Brandon says even after opening an urgent care clinic earlier this year, the same numbers of patients are still going to the E.R.

The hospital says more patients want urgent care because it takes too long for them to get into their primary care doctor.

They say one reason doctors are swamped is because of the affordable care act. Many more people are eligible to go to the doctor, so they do. Since then, they say there's been a pent-up demand for patients to get quick care for non-emergency medical needs.

When Unity Point Finley opened this Urgent Care Clinic back in August, they expected to see a drop in the number of patients visiting the Emergency Room. But they didn't.

"What we believe is happening is patients who've had to go outside our local community to get health care in order to get access," said Brandon.

Brandon says patients living in Dubuque have been traveling to places like Waterloo or Cedar Rapids just to be treated for something like a sore throat or a sprained ankle.