Urgent Care or Emergency Room? Which Choice is the Right Choice?

When an acute injury or illness strikes, as a patient, you have some important decisions to make.  Sometimes the injury or illness isn't serious enough to warrant going to an Emergency Room, but it certainly needs medical attention. Often it's difficult for you to be seen at your Primary Care doctor's office so what are your choices?
With the increase in the number of Urgent Care clinics which have opened many patients see this as a unique alternative to their healthcare.  They are able to be seen without an appointment (although the payoff is that there might be an extended wait depending on how many other patients had the same idea), and many Urgent Care centers offer a variety of services.
Employers also look to Urgent Care centers to help employees who have been injured on the job.  Employers are able to have their employees examined, treated and are able to have more direct lines of communication with the provider so they can work together to make sure the employee is recovering and back to work as quickly as possible.
Urgent Care centers are a great alternative to busy Emergency Rooms.  They're outpatient medical clinics (in most cases) and are able to charge non-ER rates.  Urgent Care centers can also offer basic preventative treatments such as some vaccinations and medications for travel, flu shots, sports or employment physicals and more. At First Care Urgent Care (SIMED's Urgent Care Center) we have the added benefit that if you are unable to be seen at your Primary Care doctor's office, any treatment you receive at First Care is included into your medical record.  There's no guessing by your Primary Care doctor and your medical record stays complete!
We asked our First Care physicians a few questions on what we should consider when selecting an Urgent Care clinic and what makes First Care a quality Urgent Care clinic in our area.  
“Is the clinic staffed by a Medical Doctor and is that Doctor on-site? Are they available to you when you're being treated?”

First Care has rotation of 3 Board Certified Family Practice Physicians and a Physician's Assistant who works directly with them.

“What services do they provide?  Will you need to make additional trips for labs, radiology services (x-ray, MRI, etc..)?”

First Care can draw and get results on stat labs, in-house x-rays, and if scheduling allows, ultrasound and CT, MRI.

“What type of Urgent Care center are they?  Some are affiliated with hospitals or are considered an extension of an Emergency Room which can affect your deductibles, co-pays or other insurance benefits.”

First Care is not affiliated with a hospital.  We are not an emergency room so that means no exorbitant Emergency Department charges!

“Is my injury appropriate for an Urgent Care center? Not all injuries or illness are right for an Urgent Care center setting.  For example, if I know if I experience chest pains, I should call 911.”

If you are unsure, just give us a call, and we can help direct you to the most appropriate care.

Remember to always have a plan in case you or your loved one is faced with an acute injury or illness and needs medical treatment but doesn't need an Emergency Room!  
First Care is open Monday - Friday from 8:00am - 6:00pm.  For more information CLICK HERE or call (352) 373-2340.