Urgent Care Vs. Emergent Care

Urgent Care Vs. Emergent Care
02 Oct, 2019

While an ER could treat any of the urgent care issues, it is not recommended because emergency rooms are busier and more expensive. Also, it is important to note that urgent care centers may not be able to treat the illnesses listed for emergency rooms. That said, of the top diagnosis at both urgent care centers and emergency rooms, nearly 50% of them are the same.

The average urgent care visit costs patients $71-125 for basic care, with additional costs added for shots, x-rays, and labs. The average emergency room visit costs $1,318.

The average emergency room has a wait time of 2.4 hours, whereas urgent care centers are able to see walk-in patients within 15-45 minutes . However, that wait time does not express the time patients will spend waiting for services while in the doctor's office. In most cases, an urgent care center helps patients through the system much faster, as its care is more limited and specific.

Patients in ERs can expect to wait hours in their rooms if a more traumatic case enters the ER. In urgent care centers, patients rarely experience this type of issue, as major traumas are directed to ERs.

Here are the types of services urgent care center cover:

  • Flu or common cold
  • Immunizations (such as flu shots)
  • Fever, headaches, cough, sneezing and chills
  • Sprains
  • After-hours care

Here are some of the services that require an emergency room:

  • Major Trauma or Accident
  • Loss of Consciousness
  • Chest Pain or Heart Attack
  • Uncontrollable Bleeding

Emergency Rooms and Urgent Care Similarities

Both emergency rooms and urgent care centers are staffed with compassionate health care providers. In most cases both facilities will have doctors and nurses available.

In most cases, your insurance will cover either an urgent care center or an emergency room.  Exceptions include unnecessary visits and out-of-network facilities. However, patients should be aware that their co-pay is based on the facility they visit.  It is usually less expensive to go to urgent care than an ER.

Many urgent care centers offer x-rays and other imaging procedures.  Both urgent care centers and ERs are able to give patients shots, medications, IVs, and even treatment plans.

Neither ERs nor urgent care centers are equipped to deal with non-emergency, chronic conditions. Patients with chronic needs such as depression or diabetes should be seen and followed by a primary care physician.

Being informed about the differences and similarities between these kinds of care is important. Whether you choose to receive care from an urgent care center or an emergency room, it is important to follow-up with additional treatments as necessary.  Click here to find out where your nearest urgent care is located.