ER Visit vs. Urgent Care: Knowing Where to Go

When something is wrong or doesn’t feel right, there’s usually no time to waste trying to figure out whether you should visit an ER or urgent care. You want to be able to make a quick, confident decision for your health. 

That’s why we’re going to break down the biggest differences between ERs and urgent cares and provide our recommendations for common scenarios and concerns. So when there is an emergency, you know exactly where you need to go to receive the best care. 

When to Go to Urgent Care

Let’s start with when you should visit an urgent care. If you have a concern or illness that you don’t feel comfortable visiting a primary care physician’s office for or that occurs after normal business hours, urgent  care is probably the right choice. Urgent cares are more focused on minor injuries or illnesses and often cost less. However, they are limited due to having fewer diagnostic resources available. 

Choosing an urgent care center (UCC) over an emergency room (ER) can save you both time and money.

An urgent care can treat you for common conditions, including:

  • Cough, cold, and sore throat
  • Earaches and infections
  • Fever and flu symptoms
  • Back and joint pain
  • Minor cuts, sprains, and burns
  • Animal bites
  • Headaches
  • Mild asthma
  • Urinary tract infections

Urgent cares are usually staffed with nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other mid-level medical staff. Often with no complaints, urgent cares have great medical providers that are in the right situation. Urgent cares are usually in contract with most health insurance and federal programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare. These programs do not utilize FSERs since not every state allows the freestanding model. 

That being said, urgent cares are not usually open 24/7, so they may not be available for those middle-of-the-night or holiday illnesses or injuries. In many cases, an urgent care is used as an alternative to a primary care physician.

When to Go to a Freestanding Emergency Room

Next, let’s go over when you should visit an ER over urgent care. A freestanding emergency room’s (FSER) primary service area is 3 to 5 miles. The goal of an FSER is not to replace your primary care physician, urgent care, or hospital but to be a safe and local alternative for emergency services.

FSERs are similar to a hospital in that they are meant for true medical emergencies. For example, at ER Near Me we can handle emergency room services, diagnostic testing, and treatment. Our doors are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week (including holidays).

Visiting a FSER may be best if you experience:

  • Sudden dizziness or loss of coordination
  • Seizure or loss of consciousness
  • Sudden numbness or weakness
  • Disorientation or difficulty speaking
  • Severe cuts or burns
  • Heart attack, chest pain or chest pressure
  • An overdose
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Shortness of breath or severe asthma attack
  • Head injury/major trauma
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Coughing or vomiting blood
  • Blurry or loss of vision

There are many common misconceptions with ERs that they are crowded, expensive, and your overall experience is rushed and stressful. However, at ER Near Me, we are redefining what an emergency room experience can be.

What Are the Advantages of ER Near Me?

ER Near Me’s emergency room services and care are provided by expert medical professionals with minimal wait times and no balanced billing. Our team welcomes patients with open arms around the clock, offering one-on-one concierge emergency medical assistance.

Along with general conditions our services also include pediatric care, trauma and sports injuries, radiology, extended overnight care, and mental health.  

Do you have more questions about ER Near Me’s emergency room services and care? Check out our blog: FAQs Asked About ER Near Me’s Concierge Emergency Care.

The Best Choice for You

When it comes to your health, there is no wrong answer, there is just the best choice for you and your needs. The only mistake you can make is not seeking help when you need it. 

Have questions or concerns? Call us at our Addison, Hulen, Plano, or Richardson locations!

ER Near Me September Offer - Concierge ER vs Urgent Care