No appointment necessary! Those are welcome words for people who struggle to carve out time in this busy, work-a-day world for something as simple, and as vital, as visiting the doctor for a check-up. All too often, folks get sick or injured on a Saturday afternoon when primary care providers are not available. But no longer do we have to postpone medical visits or avoid seeking treatment because it’s the weekend. Chances are good that there’s an urgent care facility fairly near that is open and fully staffed to handle a full spectrum of medical needs.

Whether you live with a chronic illness, seek peace of mind about a sudden condition, or are the mother of an accident prone toddler, the New River Valley proudly hosts urgent care facilities with multiple locations. Curtis Cornell, director of the Christiansburg VelocityCare by Carilion says: “The cornerstone of our success is quality care that is convenient for the patient.” With walk-ins welcome and on-site lab and X-ray services, flu shots, sports physicals, vaccinations and other occupational health services, VelocityCare offers provider care without an appointment, and the pricing is on the outpatient side of the spectrum.

VelocityCare is not tied to any in-patient billing, unlike a trip to the ER, which comes with a mandatory hospital charge. Cornell also notes that they benchmark their visits, and the majority of patients are in and out in less than an hour. VelocityCare can treat wounds requiring stitches as well as broken bones, and all of their X-rays are reviewed nightly by a staff radiologist, “which is an excellent quality review process,” Cornell says. VelocityCare is also open every day of the year and accepts Virginia Tech Aetna insurance as well as the Hokie Passport.

MedExpress was founded on the simple idea of offering high quality care and great customer service in a warm and welcoming, home-like environment. “The community plays an important role in our framework,” states Annie Jamieson, communications manager. “MedExpress offers a variety of wellness programs, employer-managed health services, tobacco cessation programs, drug screenings, physicals and workers compensation related services. A full medical team is on staff, and a variety of commonly prescribed medications are on-site.” MedExpress accepts most major insurances and also serves those without insurance at an affordable price.

MinuteClinic centers are located inside CVS pharmacies and are considered walk-in, minor care facilities. They are staffed by nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants who can diagnose, treat and write prescriptions for common illnesses. They also provide certain vaccinations, treat wounds and offer routine lab tests and screenings. They are a non-robing facility and do not offer blood work or X-ray services, but the convenience of being able to receive your prescription and fill it right there in CVS is definitely an attractive option. The MinuteClinic facilities accept most insurances, and you can use their online insurance checker to see if yours is on the list. If so, you will pay a normal office visit co-pay. They also have a price list available on their website so you can view the costs of various services they offer. Most patients are in and out in under half an hour, and you can call ahead to check wait time.

If you find yourself with anything from a sprain to an unrelenting migraine after normal business hours, rest assured that you do not have to suffer through it or pack up and head to the closest emergency room. If it is before 8 p.m. or on a Saturday or Sunday, you can walk in to one of the local urgent care facilities and let them take care of you.

434 Pepper’s Ferry Road, Christiansburg
215 Gilbert Street, Blacksburg
*also a Daleville location
Monday-Saturday 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

100 Spradlin Farm, Christiansburg
*and two Roanoke area locations
Daily 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

31 W. Main Street, Radford
550 North Franklin Street, Christiansburg
Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-8 p.m.,
Saturday 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

I can personally attest to the friendliness of the staff, as I visited MedExpress for a kidney infection that started on a Friday afternoon. By Sunday, my lower back was throbbing. They took me right in, and with a regular $25 co-pay, I was taken care of in less than an hour on a late Sunday evening. ~ Emily Alberts

Emily Kathleen Alberts is a New River Valley freelance writer.