DECIDING WHERE TO GO
Urgent Care Emergency
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
Bumps, cuts, scrapes
Cough, sore throat
Ear or sinus pain
Eye swelling, irritation, redness or pain
Minor allergic reaction
Minor fever, colds
Rash, minor bumps
Sudden or unexplained loss of consciousness
Signs of heart attack, such as sudden/severe chest pain
Signs of stroke, such as numbness of the face, arm or leg on one
side of the body; difficulty talking, sudden loss of vision
Severe shortness of breath
High fever with stiff neck, mental confusion and/or difficulty
Coughing up or vomiting blood
Cut or wound that won’t stop bleeding
Trauma to the head
Partial or total amputation of a limb
Urgent Care or Emergency Room? Where Do I Go?
Knowing the difference between emergency and urgent care can save you a lot of time and money.
Visits to the emergency room (ER) usually cost more than a visit to a nearby urgent care clinic. If a
medical condition is life- or limb-threatening, or if you have severe wounds, visiting an ER makes
sense. But if the medical condition is non-life-threatening (a sprained ankle, back pain, needing
stitches), visiting a nearby urgent care clinic may save you time and money. Urgent care clinics are
also staffed by doctors and are open after hours. Finding one near you is easy.
to find a full list of urgent care options.
Emergency Room, Urgent Care Center or Your PCP?
Use your health care dollars wisely. Save money and wait time by learning when to use the ER. If
you or a loved one experiences a true emergency, or if you are not sure where to go based on
your symptoms, go to the nearest ER or call 911 for help. When it’s not an emergency, we just
want you to know that you have other options that are just as effective. In most cases, these
options cost less.
Same- or Next-Day Appointments
• Your PCP office has set aside same- or next-day appointments for urgent care needs
• Urgent care appointments with your PCP cost less than an ER visit copay
• Call your doctor’s office for urgent care guidelines
Use an Urgent Care Center
• Keep a list of urgent care centers handy – along with their hours of operation
• In most cases, your urgent care center copay is considerably less than an ER copay
Use the chart on the following page as a tool to help you decide which option will work best for you
and your family.
This is not a complete list of conditions. These are examples only. If you believe you are having an emergency, call 911 immediately or go to the
nearest emergency room.
The information provided is intended to be general information, and is provided for educational purposes only. It is not intended to take the place of
examination, treatment or consultation with a doctor. Health Alliance Plan urges you to contact your doctor with any questions you may have about
a medical condition.