Health Care Clinics See a Surge

Health care clinics are growing in popularity in the Panhandle region and many say it is due to the struggling economy.

In the last year an urgent care clinic says they have doubled the patients they see each day. And as families struggle to pay their bills, more uninsured patients are walking through the doors.

Whether its a cough or a long term illness, patients say they can get the same treatment for a fraction of the price.

Victoria Stiles says, "Instead of paying four or five hundred dollars in the emergency room we only pay 20 bucks."

"It's very not expensive," says Perla Corral.

Most patients say the short wait time is another reason they choose to use the clinic.

Corral says, "Oh, you can't get in that same day. Sometimes it's a long wait like oh I can't get you in today how about tomorrow or even a week later and here you can just walk in. It's nice."

Stiles says, "Instead of waiting an entire day you are only waiting an hour or so. "

Because many physicians are booked on a daily basis some patients choose to solely use the clinic.

Amarillo Urgent Care Nurse Stacy Gonzales says, "The doctors nurse practitioners do become primary care because it is hard to get in because they couldn't get in and alot of insurances interfere with that."

Both the Corral and Stiles families say they are considering it. "Yes I definitely think I'll be coming here more," says Corral.

Stiles says, "Hopefully I won't ever have to go to the hospital again." The urgent care clinic is not for critical health care situations.

Many illnesses progress quickly and can lead to a more serious diagnosis. Even if your finances are tight, Gonzalez recommends visiting with your doctor or a clinic as soon as possible.