You probably know by now that getting a same-day doctor appointment around NYC is next to impossible (almost as impossible as getting a cab when it’s raining). But what to do when you’ve come down with a stomach bug, a bad case of the flu, or maybe something worse?
Outside of your primary care doctor, you may know of four other options – the emergency room, an urgent care clinic, Telemedicine, or an in-store pharmacy clinic. Yet there’s one other player that changes the game – medical house calls.
Too many options, you say? Want to know which would be the best choice when in a health quandary?
The answer: It depends.
Here’s a rundown of your options, along with more information to help you decide on the most suitable route when you aren’t feeling your best.
Nowadays, if you’re sick you either have to wait for your primary care doctor to see you (not easy to get same day appointments), go to the ER (and wait endless hours}, or go to a clinic (dragging your sick, exhausted body along), and hope that the waiting room is not packed with sick patients and get even sicker.
To prevent any mishaps, it’s best to know what your choices are and when each would be suitable for a given situation.
- Emergency room – Of course, the hospital’s ER can handle anything from chest pain and shortness of breath to a fractured ankles. But everyone knows going to the ER usually involves waiting forever to see a doctor. So if you’re sure that your condition isn’t an emergency – you really should choose another option.
- In-store clinic – Many pharmacies have in-store clinics that address minor ailments. Among these are Minute Clinics that are linked to CVS Pharmacies. They have a menu (yes, like a restaurant) of services with corresponding pricing for each. Many of these walk-in clinics can be a good choice if you prefer quick treatment. You can also fill your prescriptions right away at the pharmacy.
- Urgent care clinic – Urgent care clinics have recently become popular in New York. Though the term “urgent” seems to give you an image of dire, intense need, these clinics treat less serious ailments that may not qualify for an ER visit but still need quick treatment. Such clinics treat fevers, minor injuries, and some common infections. Some of these clinics even have on-site diagnostic tests for a number of conditions. CityMD and MedRite are a few of the chain clinics.
- Telemedicine – On-demand Telemedicine services like BumblebeeMD have become popular in the last few years. These companies offer diagnosis and treatment of patients via chat and video conference calls. Most of these calls are first time interaction with a Provider, and although managed by professionals, getting a diagnosis via phone can sometimes be an impersonal and incomplete affair. The thoroughness of the evaluation for your condition is limited in contrast to having a medical professional tend to you in person. This service may be convenient, though, only if you’re quite sure that your condition isn’t serious.
- Medical House Call service – NY was one of the first cities to reintroduce house calls in the past 10 years. Medical House Call services offer personalized care right in the comfort of your own home for any acute or urgent medical condition. Sickday has been offering their services to New Yorkers for over a decade. Sickday is proud to be the leading Medical House Call service in NYC. Just a simple call to 212-Sickday (that’s 212-742-5329) can have a Medical Provider right at your doorstep in less than 90 minutes. Sickday provides personalized acute and urgent care; you get diagnosed and treated right at home in your pajamas. They treat a wide range of medical conditions. They’ll actually see you for everything except chest pain, shortness of breath or head trauma (better go to the ER for these!). Sickday can evaluate and treat you without any transportation hassles on your part. It doesn’t get much easier than that!
More about your options (These aren’t meant to confuse you, promise!)
The cost of emergency room visits can vary depending on your condition and the tests required. Data has shown that the average cost of an emergency room visit is $1,233.
With in-store clinics, there’s usually a set price based on your condition. Visits to Urgent Care clinics and in-store clinics were found to be cheaper than an appointment with a personal primary care doctor. A typical clinic visit costs between $125 – $150 (and the encounters usually last 5 – 8 minutes).
Telemedicine costs can vary wildly–some are based on a monthly service fee plus the cost of any consultation, others charge flat fees ranging from $35 – $100 each.
Medical house call services can vary in price, but Sickday’s pricing is very straightforward. We charge a flat rate of $275 in Manhattan and $350 for the outer boroughs. Most insurance carriers will reimburse for our services.
With the ER open 24/7 it would be the obvious choice, if you wake up at 2am with severe abdominal pain.
Some telemedicine services are also available 24/7/365, but given that they are more limited in the care they offer, they might not be the help that you need.
Some urgent care clinics, in-store clinics, and medical house call services accept patients beyond the usual office hours. Many are open from 8am to 8 pm 5-7 days a week. These operation hours vary from clinic to clinic and house call service to house call service though, so you’ll have to check with the specific services you intend to use.
Sickday is open 7 days a week from 7am to 10 pm. If you can make it through the night, we can take care of you!
We are biased! We definitely think Sickday is the most convenient!
Of course, if we had to choose, we’d recommend you dial 212-SICKDAY and simply wait in bed while we get to you! Sickday has been serving New Yorkers and visitors to New York for over 10 years. We love this city, and we love our patients. Give us a call today to get the pampered treatment of a medical house call at an affordable price!