Should you go to an ER for the pain in your chest or the cut on your finger? Or would an urgent care facility be a better option? Many people may not know how to make the right decision when they need immediate care. That’s why we have created this clear and comprehensive guide to help you determine where you need to go to seek medical attention.
It’s crucial to remember that if it’s a life-threatening emergency – like a serious head injury or a heart attack – an emergency room is the right option. If the injury or illness doesn’t seem life-threatening, but you can’t wait until the next day to visit your family doctor, it’s best to head to one of the trusted urgent care providers, such as UrgentMED.
Urgent care centers like UrgentMED offer easy access to hospital-level health care for the times when your primary care physician is not available. All of our UrgentMED centers in Los Angeles and Southern California are open every day – even on weekends and holidays. You don’t need an appointment to see a doctor; just walk-in anytime during our hours of operation and our dedicated care teams will address your needs right away.
When to Visit Your Nearest UrgentMED Urgent Care Center?
When you are suddenly feeling ill or have suffered an injury, your first instinct may be to visit an ER. But if your condition is not critical, your most convenient and affordable choice may be to visit your nearest UrgentMED urgent care clinic. Our centers are staffed with board-certified doctors, nurse practitioners, and other specialists – quite like a hospital.
We are also open for extended hours: from 8:00am to 8:00pm Monday–Friday, and from 9:00am to 5:00pm on the weekends. UrgentMED clinics are equipped with the basic lab and diagnostic facilities as well as an in-house pharmacy. Meaning, all your urgent care requirements can be fulfilled under one roof. Above all, the cost of care at our emergency medicine clinics is only a small fraction of what you might end up paying at an ER for a non-life-threatening condition.
An urgent care center is also called a walk-in center because just like an ER, we also receive patients without having to make an appointment first. But unlike ERs, the wait is much shorter – you can be seen by an UrgentMED doctor within 5–15 minutes of your arrival. We offer a wide range of urgent care, follow-up care, and primary care services.
The main difference between UrgentMED and an emergency room is that we only deal with non-life-threatening health conditions and injuries. If you are unable to get a same-day appointment with your primary care physician, consider visiting us instead of going to the ER. Here are some conditions we treat at UrgentMED:
- Minor fractures and dislocated bones
- Flu or fever
- Redness or irritation in eyes
- Mild to moderate asthma
- Cuts, lacerations, and wounds that don’t involve much blood, but might still need stitches
- Accidents and falls
- Dehydration, diarrhea, and vomiting
- Urinary tract infections
- Strains and sprains
- Skin infections and rashes
- Mild to moderate pain in the neck and back
- Sore throat and strep throat
- Sinus infections
- Ingrown toenail
Advantages of Visiting UrgentMED for Urgent Care Services
For non-life-threatening injuries and illnesses, UrgentMED in Los Angeles and other Southern California cities can help you save a lot of time and money compared to an ER. Some of our benefits include:
Like all of our patients, you should feel free to walk in anytime that’s convenient for you (within our extended opening hours, 7 days a week). You will be seen by our healthcare professionals within 5–15 minutes of your arrival – a convenience which will suit your busy lifestyle.
What should you do if you need to see a doctor for your fever after work, but your primary care provider is not available after 5 pm? All UrgentMED centers operate for extended hours every single day, even on Christmas and Thanksgiving. With us, you never have to worry about waiting to get the medical attention you need.
In-House Lab & Diagnostic Services
Each UrgentMED center has an in-house lab that offers a wide range of tests, such as COVID-19 tests, COVID-19 antibody tests, physical exams, blood tests, STD tests, electrolyte tests, urine tests, pregnancy tests, drug tests and screenings, strep tests, flu tests, and much more.
On average, our patients are cared for and back on their way (to work, school, or home) in less than an hour. Emergency rooms, on the other hand, are often overburdened and under-staffed, which could mean long wait times for you.
Our affordable health care services cost a fraction of the price compared to the emergency room care. Based on this, you could potentially save hundreds or even thousands of dollars at UrgentMED when you need care for a non-life-threatening condition.
When to Go to an Emergency Room
When you have a health problem that can’t wait for several days or weeks until you see your primary care provider, going to your local ER may instinctively seem like the only option.
However, keep in mind that ERs treat severe, life-threatening medical issues where there is an immediate danger of loss of life. The entire system is designed to prioritize the care of severely ill and injured patients. And since emergency rooms are part of hospitals, they usually have a long wait time unless you have a true emergency. This means you may need to wait for hours if you are not “too ill”.
Not to mention, the cost of visiting an ER can easily run into thousands of dollars even if all you need is a couple of stitches for the cut on your finger that you got while chopping vegetables. On top of that, even after you see a physician, you can spend hours waiting for tests and even more time if your visit requires a consultation with a specialist.
Consider going to the emergency room when you need critical care for conditions like the following:
- Heavy, uncontrolled bleeding
- Gunshot wounds or deep knife wounds
- Loss of consciousness, seizures, convulsions
- Compound fracture (when the broken bone is protruding through the skin)
- Moderate to severe burns
- Fever in a newborn less than 3 months old (UrgentMED centers don’t treat children below 2 years of age)
- Stroke symptoms (slurred speech, weakness, sudden numbness, vision loss, confusion, etc.)
- Heart attack symptoms (for example, if chest pain lasts longer than 2 minutes)
- Difficulty breathing or severe chest pain
- Severe abdominal pain
- Serious back, neck, or head injury
- Pregnancy-related issues
- Homicidal or suicidal feelings
If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, please call 911 immediately.
Choose UrgentMED for High-Quality and Dependable Urgent Care for Your Non-Life-Threatening Condition
If you decide to visit UrgentMED and our emergency medicine team determines that you need a higher level of care, they will refer you to an ER or specialist. In situations where you are not sure of the cause of your symptoms – for example, if you have chest pain, but it could be acid reflux or a stroke – it’s always better to be safe and seek treatment options at an emergency room.
Use your best judgment when you are experiencing an acute injury or illness. If the condition doesn’t seem to be dangerous, UrgentMED is going to be the better choice. We offer high-quality and affordable urgent care services for a variety of health conditions for people ages 2 to 90. Contact us online if you have any questions about our services, insurances accepted, or payment plans for cash-paying customers.
|Conditions||Non-life Threatening||Life Threatening|
|Environment||Friendly, Clean & Professional||Stressful|
|Follow-up Care Provided||Yes||No|
|In-house Pharmacy||Yes With No Wait Time||No|
|Insurance Accepted||Most Insurances & Affordable Rates|
|On-site Lab & X-ray||Yes||Yes|