When you experience minor burns or back pain, it can be difficult to know what to do. On the one hand, you could go to the emergency room, but may face extra charges for using their service if it’s not an emergency. But on the other hand, going to urgent when you need the ER could actually waste valuable time. So what should you do? If you don’t have the option of going to a facility that offers both services, here’s a few pointers explaining the difference between emergency rooms and urgent care centers:
Emergency Room vs Urgent Care Centers
When To Go to the ER
Truth be told, an emergency room should only be used for just that – an emergency. Treatment in an ER, for example, can cost up to three times what it would cost in your primary care physician’s office. And, research has show. That more than half of all emergency room visits could be treated in an urgent care center. That means more than half of the people in an ER waiting room could have saved significant amounts of money!
So, how do you know when an episode is truly an emergency? Consider the symptoms. If symptoms include seizures, loss of the ability to breath, loss of conscious, heavy bleeding, serious chest pain, or a severe burn, then you likely need emergency care. However, keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list of symptoms requiring ER treatment. A good rule of thumb is to consider how immediately the patient needs care. When anything seems like it could be life threatening if not treated immediately, it is best to go to the emergency room.
When To Go to Urgent Care
While it is often better to be safe than sorry when it comes to medical treatment and going to the emergency room, consider the ER wait times, as well as other patients waiting in that lobby. If enough people went to urgent care centers rather than the ER when they don’t need emergency treatment, the waiting area of the emergency room would not be so full.
Plus, going to an urgent care center will help you to save money! In fact, going to the emergency room for a condition, such as minor burns or back pain, which could be treated in a urgent care center costs, on average, more than $2,000. Yet, the same condition at an urgent care facility would only cost about $200. That’s a 90% difference – both your wallet and your insurance company will thank you!
So, how do you know when a condition is considered urgent-care treatable? Once again, consider your symptoms. If they’re not severe enough that you absolutely need immediate care, then urgent care may be your best bet. Most frequently, urgent care centers treat common illnesses and small wounds like minor burns or back pain. If you have a condition that requires treatment before you can see your primary care provider, but it is not life threatening, then you likely want to consider an urgent care clinic.
If you are suffering from minor burns or back pain, and require treatment before you can see your physician, you should go to an urgent care center. These facilities are adept at treating minor issues such as this, and will save you both time and money. With the number of emergency room visits climbing as high as 100 million per year, urgent care centers provide relief to emergency rooms which face longer wait times and fewer staff. By taking advantage of these clinics, the healthcare system overall benefits dramatically – and you will confident in your care!