Urgent-care facilities are surging in popularity nationwide

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They are popping up in many neighborhoods, replacing former bank branches or closed supermarkets, and they’re bringing a new script to medical care.

Urgent-care facilities are a hybrid between the local doctor’s practice and the hospital emergency room.

Urgent care is now an $18 billion industry, with some 8,125 centers around the country, making it a small but growing part of the overall $3.4 trillion medical spending in the US in 2017.

The industry has a projected annual growth rate of 6 percent, or about 400 to 500 new facilities a year, according to the trade group Urgent Care Association.

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Growth of urgent care centers worries some doctors

An estimated 3 million patients visit urgent cares each week.

In Annapolis, when Emily Auerswald and her children need care for minor illnesses or injuries, they head to a shopping center that has a Starbucks, a Five Guys hamburger joint and an urgent care center.   Doctors Express, an urgent care center,  is open nights and weekends, and accepts walk-ins without an appointment.

 

 

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