It's 10:15 on a Saturday night. You (or your child) suddenly have an acute illness or injury - an asthma attack, a broken bone, a nasty cut, severe abdominal pain, or any of a number of other conditions.
You pick up the phone, dial your doctor, and reach a recorded message: "...To make or change an appointment, please call back during regular office hours, which are Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM..." But you need to see a doctor now. You can't wait to make an appointment. Heck - even if you could make an appointment now - you can't wait for the appointment!
The doctor's office recording continues: "...If this is an emergency, please hang up and dial 911, or go to the nearest emergency room." ...The nearest emergency room? How "near" is the nearest emergency room? Three, four, five or more miles away? And once you get there, how much longer will you have to wait? You know from past experience that the waiting room will be crowded, and that the wait will likely be an all-night ordeal. The triage nurse will give priority (and rightly so) to the sickest and most seriously-injured patients... the ones with truly life-threatening emergencies... the ones who really need to be in a hospital!
But you (or your child) - like 90% of the patients who go to emergency rooms - do not need to be in a hospital. You do not need to get a bloated hospital bill in the mail. You just need a doctor to take care of you, as quickly and efficiently as possible, and then send you right back home - where you belong.