Urgent Care or Emergency Room?

The difference between urgent care clinics and the emergency room (ER) is the level of care and treatment that each facility are capable of providing. When you suffer life-threatening injuries or very severe illness, the emergency room is the best option for immediate care.

If your symptoms need to be treated quickly but are not life-threatening (e.g., a broken or sprained bone, flu or cold symptoms, minor cuts or burns), an urgent care clinic is typically the treatment option that will be the most efficient and least expensive.

Payment and Wait Time

Emergency rooms operate by treating patients with the most serious and demanding conditions first, leaving those with less severe problems to wait. 12.5% of emergency room patients are typically served within one hour or less, while urgent care clinics usually treat 88.6% of their patients within an hour.

Urgent care centers are typically around seven times cheaper (averaging a cost of $200) than a visit to the emergency room (averaging a cost of $1,400). At an ER, you may also have multiple charges, higher co-pays, and you may be left to pay the medical bills yourself if your insurance company determines that the event that brought you to the emergency room was a non-medical emergency.

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Below is a handy guide to some of the most common conditions that may require care, and where you can best be treated.

URGENT CARE

Our urgent care medical professionals are equipped to respond quickly to a variety of non-life threatening illnesses and injuries, such as:

  • Fever
  • Ear pain
  • Painful urination
  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Sore throat
  • Vomiting
  • Mild asthma
  • Minor burns
  • Rashes and other skin irritations
  • Animal bites
  • Dehydration
  • Lacerations
  • Infections
  • Simple fractures and sprains
  • Nose bleeds

EMERGENCY ROOM

A few medical problems that may require emergency room attention include:

  • Confusion
  • Head injury
  • Coughing blood
  • Severe chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Abdominal pain
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Spinal injuries
  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Severe vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Drug overdoses
  • Severe burns