It seems as if walk-in clinics are popping up everywhere around the country in recent years. As the financial concerns surrounding general practitioners has increased among a majority of Americans, the affordable alternative of a walk-in clinic has become more popular and appealing. However, with so many of them rising up out of the woodworks, it is crucial to look at certain signs and characteristics to ensure the clinic you attend is ideal and proper.
Although finding a positive walk-in clinic anywhere can be a difficult task, it is even more relevant when looking at big cities that are densely populated. San Francisco is among these metropolitan areas that has had issues with faulty walk-in clinics setting up as a means of turning a profit, as opposed to providing the best care for their patients. In order to better understand the walk-in clinics in the San Francisco area, and choose the one that will have your best interests in mind, there are certain traits that should be considered. Below are five things that every patient should look into and verify, so that they know they are receiving proper treatment:
Check the rating & reviews on Yelp
Checking ratings and reviews might seem arbitrary and somewhat irrelevant in the broader context, but it plays a huge role in getting a feel for how the clinic operates and treats its patients. Although this may apply less in smaller cities, in the tech-mecca of San Francisco, Yelp ratings can make or break an institution.
However, this does not mean to just look at how many stars the clinic has and be satisfied with that number. Instead, patients should carefully peruse the top ranked walk-ins in their area or neighborhood, looking at the star rating, the number of people who have reviewed and rated it, and the specific praises or complaints that have been outlined in detail in the review section. This will allow you to begin painting a picture of what to expect from the clinic, and whether or not it is a viable option to begin with.
They are an “Out-of-Network” Care Provider
One of the issues that has arisen surrounding walk-ins as a whole, and especially in a city like San Francisco, is that those who are operating the clinics are simply in it for the sake of turning a quick profit. To do so, some clinics may attempt to take advantage of their communication with insurance providers, and squeeze as much money out of an individual’s plan as possible by working directly with the insurer.
An “out-of-network” care provider means that the clinic communicates first and foremost with the patient, explaining all aspects of the costs and financials with them and inquiring as to their preferred plan of action. Rather than going directly to the insurer, these clinics will provide you with documentation and explanation about the treatment you received, the price it will come out to, and give you the option of either reaching out personally to your insurance provider, or having them send the claim after getting your permission. In this circumstance, it ensures that your coverage is not drained due to faulty and ill-intentioned clinical practices, and keeps your insurance intact for future purposes.
The NP or PA is engaging and tries to develop a relationship
This is another major indicator of an ideal walk-in clinic in the San Francisco Bay Area. With so many walk-in clinics popping up throughout the city, and not knowing which truly have your best interests in mind, the relationship and interaction with the Nurse Practitioner or Physician’s Assistant is crucial in determining the quality of the clinic. Those who solely care about flipping a profit and are focused solely on seeing as many patients as possible to bring in more revenue, are generally the type of clinics you want to stay away from.
If an NP or PA does not do a thorough job of inquiring about your ailments and engaging about your past issues or future objectives, this is a major red flag that the treatment provided by the clinic is faulty. However, if you find that the NP/PA is engaging with you throughout, does not act as if he or she is trying to rush you out, and truly exudes a more caring personality about them, chances are that the clinic is one that prides itself on providing the utmost care for their patients.
They provide a range of treatments for different ailments
Walk-in clinics are known for their robust and diverse arrangement of treatments and care options that they provide in terms of minor and acute ailments. Yet, many non-ideal clinics in the Bay Area tend to skip out on some of their less-popular treatment types, likely as a means of saving and making money. When analyzing a walk-in for their credibility, it is crucial to take a detailed look at the services that they provide, to ensure that some notable components are not left out. Doing some research online beforehand can give you knowledge about the array of treatment options available at majority of walk-in clinics, so that you can then check this list against the one provided at the clinic. If everything checks out, it may be an indicator of a proper and legitimate walk-in.
They are transparent about their pricing
Although an overwhelming majority of walk-in clinics are upfront and transparent with their pricing formats, some of them try to hide some of the added costs or fees that are attributed to receiving care. Those who fail to be transparent about pricing from the onset can be viewed as potentially trying to scalp as much money from you as possible, leaving you in the dark about the financials until after the treatment has been provided.
A surefire sign of a proper walk-in clinic is their complete openness and honesty about prices, and their ability to explain each cost in a thorough and comprehensive manner. If you find a clinic that has these characteristics, this is another green flag that you may have potentially found a credible candidate for your walk-in clinic.
Overall, as the popularity of walk-in clinics rushes over that of the traditional doctor’s office, understanding what this entails is vital to getting the best care possible. Due to the fact that some of these clinics may just be trying to make a quick profit on as many patients as possible, the above points provide insight into the things you should keep an eye out for as you conduct your research. Finding the right walk-in clinic may take some time and effort until you finally find one that is legitimate, but it is necessary to ensure that the treatment you are getting is top-notch, and nobody tries to take advantage of you in any way.