Wichita Falls Urgent Care Clinics versus Emergency Rooms

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - With all the new clinics and care centers that have opened up in Wichita Falls, there may be some confusion as to where to go for what.
One month ago Community Medical Urgent Care opened their doors. 
It is a walk in urgent care clinic.
    "We can treat everything from boo boos to broken bones," Dr. Gregory Bloomquist, the Chief Medical Officer of Community Medical Urgent Care said. "We do x-rays, stitches, testing and we treat people."
Another facility to recently open is Neighbors Emergency Clinic.
It is a stand alone ER.
    "You are going to get the same type of blood work, CT scans and things that you would get at a normal emergency room," Dr. Phuc Vo, the Medical Director of Neighbors Emergency Clinic said.
Dr. Vo said there is a difference between the two.
    "An emergency is something that has to be treated within the next minutes to one day," Dr. Vo said. "Say you have abdominal pain. You could have appendicitis. That has to be treated within the next day. An urgent matter could be treated within the next two to three days or a week. So if you had strep throat, you could wait a few days for that and get that treated later on."
Over the past year Select ER also opened before closing and a new facility is soon to come on Southwest Parkway.
Dr. Bloomquist attributes some of the urgent care's success to the Affordable Care Act.
    "One of the things that comes with the Affordable Care Act that I've experienced is extremely high co-pays for emergency room visits," Dr. Bloomquist said. "In the range of $500 to $600 dollars. And what it's trying to do is dissuade people from going to an emergency room using all of the resources of an emergency room for very simple things that should be handled some place else."
Dr. Vo said with the Affordable Care Act, more people have insurance leading to an increase in patients.
Autumn Courtney, the Marketing Representative for Community Medical Urgent Care, and Dr. Vo said everyone wants to serve an underserved community.
    "That's why we are here for the community," Dr. Vo said. "We want to help alleviate people's wait times and we understand nobody knows what they actually have until you do the test and see a doctor."
    "We are just really excited about letting Wichita Falls know that you have options," Courtney said.
Neighbors ER officials said they want to work with the other medical facilities and not compete against them.
We reached out to United Regional on the facilities opening and what it could mean for alleviated wait times, but they declined to comment.

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