Skip 
Navigation Link

1215 South Walnut Ave.
Demopolis, AL 36732 map map 

Access to Care: 800.239.2901

Health Policy & Advocacy
Resources
Basic InformationMore InformationLatest News
Health Tip: Making an Emergency CallFrom Pigs to Peacocks, What's Up With Those 'Emotional-Support Animals'?Global Aid Programs Shortchange Teen Health Needs: StudyDoctors Write Fewer Opioid Scripts After Learning of Overdose DeathHow to Become an Educated PatientU.S. Murder, Suicide Rates Climbing AgainTo Boost Colon Cancer Screening, Use the MailMajority in U.S. Support Medical Pot, Think It Could Fight Opioid CrisisWhey Powder Blamed for Salmonella Tied to Ritz Crackers, Goldfish: FDAToo Few Americans Getting Screened for Cancer: CDCYou Have 11 Seconds to Tell Your Doc What's WrongFDA Warns of Deaths Tied to Tainted Synthetic PotWhere Are Opioid Painkillers Prescribed the Most?In the ICU, Patients' Relatives Often Mum About Care ConcernsResetting E-Prescriptions for Opioids Helps Curb Use: StudyHealth Tip: If You're 45 or Older, Get Screened for Colorectal CancerRed Cross Issues Nationwide Call for Blood DonationsDoctor Burnout Widespread, Helps Drive Many Medical ErrorsWarming Climate, More AC -- and More Unhealthy Smog AheadEven at 'Safe' Levels, Air Pollution May Boost Diabetes RiskDeath Certificate Data May Miss Many Opioid ODs: StudyRaise the Bar on CPR, Heart Group SaysWhen DEA Cracked Down on Opioids, Abusers Moved to Black Market: StudyStigma of Safe Needle Exchanges Lingers Despite Opioid EpidemicAHA: Drones a Lifesaver for Cardiac Arrest Patients?Millions Die Worldwide Each Year for Lack of Quality CareTips for Handling a Medical EmergencyAHA: Lifesaving Info Not Always a 911 Call AwayMany, But Not All, Hospitals Require Flu Shots for StaffersCancer Care Twice as Costly in U.S. Versus CanadaAHA: Health Concerns Haunt Puerto Rico as New Hurricane Season BeginsPot, Opioids Now Rival Alcohol as Factor in Driver DeathsThe ER or Urgent Care?Trumps Signs Bill Allowing Terminal Patients to Try Unproven MedicinesTough State Drunk Driving Laws Save LivesE-Cigarettes Don't Help Smokers Quit, But Cash MightSmall World? Not With One-Quarter Obese by 2045A Pill to Protect You From the Sun? Don't Believe It, FDA SaysMost Hospitals Aren't Ready for Mass Tragedies, ER Docs SayAHA: Making America's Doctors Look More Like AmericaLanguage Used in Medical Record Can Affect Patient CareNonprofit Manufacturer Could Keep Generic Drug Costs DownOpioid Makers' Perks to Docs Tied to More PrescriptionsFDA Targets Clinics Offering Unapproved Stem Cell TherapiesLittle 'Quit-Smoking' Help at U.S. Mental Health CentersIs Testing for Zika in U.S. Blood Supply Worth the Cost?'Smoke-Free' Rooms Still Loaded With Smoke Residues, Study FindsAHA: Smoke-Free Laws Do Seem to Help Young Adults' HeartsAHA: Poverty Levels Key to States' Performance on Heart DiseaseSimple Drug Packaging Change Could Save Toddlers' Lives
Questions and AnswersVideosLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Health Insurance
Healthcare

The ER or Urgent Care?

HealthDay News
by By Len CanterHealthDay Reporter
Updated: May 30th 2018

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, May 30, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Urgent care centers are popping up across the country as an option for medical treatment. But it is important to know the differences between these facilities and your local hospital emergency department.

The ER is for life-threatening situations, yet many people go there when urgent care is more appropriate. According to one study, nearly half of ER patients whose ailment did not warrant being admitted to the hospital had gone to the ER simply because the clinic office was not open.

Urgent care would have been more appropriate -- and less expensive. Out-of-pocket costs are likely lower than for an ER visit, especially if the facility is in your health insurance network.

Realize, too, that the emergency department treats people in order of need, so you may have a longer wait time. Urgent care centers usually see people on a first-come, first-served basis.

Here are some examples of reasons to seek urgent care:

  • Fever and flu symptoms.
  • Minor injury.
  • Painful urination.
  • Severe sore throat.

More serious problems, like severe pain and difficulty breathing, as well as traumatic injuries, do need screening and treatment at the ER.

In serious emergencies, driving to the ER will not get you help fast enough. It is safer to call 911, especially in life-threatening situations. Paramedics can start care immediately.

Here are some reasons to go to the ER:

  • Any sign of stroke, including paralysis, difficulty speaking, altered mental status or confusion.
  • High fever or fever with a rash.
  • Persistent chest pain, shortness of breath or wheezing.
  • Serious burn.
  • Serious fall or an injury involving the head or eyes, a broken bone, deep cut or dislocated joint.
  • Severe bleeding or pain.
  • Sudden, severe headache or loss of vision.

If you are unsure what constitutes an emergency or what costs will be covered, contact your insurer before you need any of these services. If you are ever in doubt, go to your closest ER. But if the problem is simply that you just cannot reach your doctor, consider urgent care.

More information

Scripps Health has more tips on how to choose between the ER or urgent care.