Urgent Care Or Emergency Room?

We have all wondered this question, whether at home or on vacation and when you need Urgent Care or Emergency Room, you usually need it NOW.

The question is, what do you choose?

urgent care or emergency roomMost people can grab their phone or computer and do a quick internet search for an open walk-in urgent care or emergency room, but how do you pick a place off the list? How do you know what you need – urgent care or emergency room?

What seems like a simple decision is made complex by the myriad of options available and the different capabilities of various urgent care centers and emergency rooms scattered around town.  Unless you are lucky and you live in Colorado Springs, you’ve got one place that can help with almost any emergency – ER Specialists Urgency Center!  

IF you aren’t near ER Specialists Urgency Center keep reading.

Here are some questions to consider to help you make your decision.

What time of day is it?

The Emergency room is open 24 hours a day, everyday.

Urgent Care hours vary by location, day of the week and they often take their last patient 30 minutes before their listed closing time.  In Colorado Springs you need to get sick or injured by 8PM, at the latest, in order to go to an adult urgent care.

ER Specialists Urgency Center is also open during peak hours of need, typically in the evening.  We take our last patient up to our listed closing time and are open later than any urgent care in town.  

How severe is my injury or illness?

This is where things get really difficult.  If you need an ambulance, you need a hospital-based emergency room, but beyond that how do you decide?  

An urgent care center  is a great option for minor medical illnesses: cough, cold, sore throat, stomach pain, fractures and minor lacerations and similar injuries. SImple, right?  Not so fast.  What does minor mean?  Most urgent care centers are able to manage a broad variety of sudden illness and injuries that occur outside of primary care hours and that do not require an ER visit such as;

  • Fever
  • Rashes and other skin irritations
  • Ear pain
  • Animal bites
  • Painful urination
  • Infections
  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Nose bleeds
  • Dehydration
  • Lacerations
  • Simple fractures and sprains
  • Sore throat
  • Vomiting
  • Mild asthma
  • Minor burns
  • Simple fractures and sprains

An emergency room is able to care for severe medical and traumatic injuries.  Some reasons you should seek care in an emergency room include: severe injuries, especially those requiring ambulance transport or results in a bone sticking out of the skin, fevers in any baby under three months, severe bleeding that won’t stop or makes you feel lightheaded or pass out, signs of a stroke or a heart attack, severe burns, or problems in late pregnancy.

Our Urgency Center sits right in the middle of the urgent care and emergency room capabilities. We are able to care for minor all the way up to more severe illnesses and injuries.  Our physicians are board certified emergency medicine doctors, and we have built our facility to reflect the environment we have trained in and worked in for many years.  

This means, when you can’t decide between urgent care and the emergency room, you come to us!  

We have X-ray, CT scan, ultrasound, typical emergency labs, IV medications and rehydration, and, if you need more comprehensive care, we can directly admit you to the hospital or refer you to the specialist you need.

In addition to what a conventional urgent care facility can do (listed above), we can also treat;

  • Chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • abdominal pain and inability to eat or drink
  • dehydration
  • head injuries
  • severe broken bones
  • deep or extensive lacerations

What about the cost?

Even though emergency rooms can be used for less urgent situations, they’re not really the best place for minor medical issues.

While emergency rooms serve a very important purpose, they are very costly. Many people avoid going to the emergency room, simply because they don’t have the financial means to pay the bill. According to a study by the insurance giant Cigna, the average cost of an emergency room visit is $2,259 vs. an average cost of an urgent care center visit of around $179.  

With the high insurance deductibles these days, you will most likely be paying for your emergency room visit out-of-pocket.

What would you rather pay – $2,259 or $179 (on average)?

What about the wait time?

The second big problem with emergency rooms is the wait time. Emergency rooms in general are notorious for extended wait times. In Colorado Springs, the wait to get treated at an emergency room at peak demand can be more than 6 hours!

At ER Specialists Urgency Center, our wait time is practically zero! That’s right – in the vast majority of cases, even during peak demand, you will be seen immediately. If there is a small wait time, it will be measured in minutes – not hours!

The emergency room vs. urgent care center differences are becoming even more blurred with the advent of the super-urgent care facilities like ER Specialists Urgency Center in Colorado Springs. For all but the most severe of life-threatening illnesses or injuries, our urgency center can take great care of you at a much lower price than a conventional emergency room and with much lower wait times!

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