How many urgent care clinics are in the U.S.?
Urgent care facilities are outpatient clinics that provide care for acute and chronic illnesses and injuries that are considered non-life threatening. They offer longer and more convenient hours than are typically available at a traditional doctor’s office and are considered a viable alternative to emergency departments for many types of diagnoses and procedures.
According to data from Definitive Healthcare’s ClinicView product, there are about 10,800 active urgent care clinics across the U.S. Below, we’ve listed the 10 states with the most urgent care clinics per capita.
Top 10 states with the most urgent care clinics per capita
The state with the most clinics per capita is Mississippi, with 151 active urgent care clinics per its 2.9 million citizens. Second is Louisiana with 227 clinics and a 4.6m population, followed by Tennessee with 334 clinics for its 7 million residents. Out of the top 10, four of the states with the most urgent care clinics per capita are located in the Southeast. Most urgent care clinics are in urban areas throughout the United States, but 657 (or 6% of clinics) can be found in rural areas.
How are urgent care clinics different from retail clinics?
While physician assistants and nurse practitioners often see patients at both types of outpatient clinics, urgent care clinics are unique in that they require a physician to be employed at every location. In contrast, physicians may be affiliated with a retail clinic, but employment is not a requirement.
Retail and urgent care clinics can also differ in the types of illnesses and injuries they treat. At a minimum, both types of clinics treat acute conditions that a primary care provider (PCP) might address, such as flu and cold symptoms, strep throat, allergies and rashes, and minor cuts and skin conditions. In more recent years, urgent care and retail clinics have become common access points for COVID-related vaccination and testing.
However, patients with serious cuts that require stitches or broken bones should turn to an urgent care clinic for treatment. Most urgent care clinics offer in-house X-rays, while some even offer more advanced imaging services such as CT scans. Many urgent care clinics offer multiple exam rooms and have an average patient wait time of 15 minutes or less.
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