Sometimes an Urgent Care Center may be a Better Choice than the Emergency Room
With summer well under way, injuries and illnesses can happen anytime. Here are some tips on how to get fast, quality care that fits within your busy schedule.
Urgent Care centers bridge the gap between primary care physicians and the Emergency Room and have experienced doctors and/or nurses on staff. They can be used for many common illnesses, injuries and conditions and most have more convenient hours than primary care physicians and shorter wait times than the ER.
Understanding your options
Primary Care Physicians focus on health promotion, disease prevention, and managing long-term health issues. They also provide counseling and patient education, as well as diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illnesses.
If you have a non-life-threatening urgent need and are unable to see your doctor, an Urgent Care center may be your next best option.
Like your primary care physician, Urgent Care Centers are typically staffed with physicians trained in family or emergency medical care. They treat common illnesses such as fever, coughs, colds, flu, and minor injuries including fractures. In addition, some urgent care facilities are equipped for x-rays and lab tests. You can walk in without an appointment when an Urgent Care center is open. This is a good option when you can't see your primary care doctor and when you need care right away for a condition that isn't life threatening.
Emergency Rooms (ERs) treat severe symptoms and life-threatening emergencies. ERs can do x-rays and lab tests, and have other major diagnostic testing equipment (MRI, CT Scan, EKG). Hospital emergency departments often act as the hospital front door for admission to the hospital. Go straight to the nearest hospital ER if you are facing a true emergency--stroke, heart attack, severe bleeding, head injury or other major trauma. ERs will evaluate or triage all patients upon arrival, so if your condition is not an emergency, you may have to wait while more serious conditions are treated.
When urgent care is right for you, consider an in-network Urgent Care center.
Humana-owned Concentra Urgent Care centers as well as other in-network centers are available as an urgent care option to our members. Many centers offer convenient walk-in appointments with extended hours. Visit Humana.com and use the Physician Finder Plus tool to locate a Concentra Urgent Care center or other in-network provider near you.