Urgent Care vs. Express Care vs. Emergency Care

In the medical world in the US, you have the option of going to different facilities such as express care, urgent care, or emergency care. There are times when any of these facilities can help you meet your needs. Below is a breakdown of these three types of care. It should help you make a choice on which facility to visit.

Express Care

Express care is quite similar to urgent care. In this facility, you will get access to walk-in treatment for any non-life threatening cases that you have. These facilities cater to patients of all ages, and it is common to find pediatricians working at express care centers. Best of all, these facilities extend hours during weekdays, with some even staying open during the weekend.

Whether you are unable to see your primary doctor or you are on a visit, express care can help. They handle almost all medical situations that are non-life threatening such us minor injuries and illnesses. They also treat aches, sore throats, flu, rashes, sprains, burns, cuts, and many other minor medical cases.

Urgent Care

If you cannot find an express care center for non-emergency cases, you can visit urgent care providers. They will offer a full range of medical services. These services are similar to those that you can expect to find at express care centers.

These facilities are quite useful when you are far from home or when your doctor has closed their office. Like express centers, they operate longer than normal working hours and most of them operate during the weekends. However, you should never go there for emergencies since you will be referred to an emergency center. Those few precious minutes before you get to the ER could be the difference between life and death.

Emergency Centers

Emergency centers such as Frontline ER are best suited for emergencies that threaten the life or limb of the patient. If you have such an emergency, call 911 or drive yourself to the ER. There is a broad definition of what is a threat to life or limb.

It includes things such as shortness of breath, dizziness, sudden loss of strength to stand, speak or move, change in mental status, excessive bleeding, extreme pain, chest pain, suicidal thoughts, extreme allergic reactions, stiff neck, deep wounds, compounds fractures, overdoes, poisoning, smoke inhalation, and much more.

If your situation is not life-threatening, please do not go to the ER. For one, you have to think about costs. ER visits come at a huge cost. Besides that, your insurer may not be willing to pay your costs if they determine that the condition was not life-threatening. There are also the long wait times. In some locations, ER is the only medical facility open when the doctor’s office closes.

In such an instance, you will have to wait for long as emergency cases are prioritized. It is common for patients to wait for hours once the nurse at the ER determines that situation does not warrant any emergency medical attention.

How to Pick

The most effective method to help you decide which facility to pick is to educate yourself. At community centers and on the web, you will find useful guides on how to identify emergency cases. For instance, you will learn how to identify the symptoms of a heart attack or other major life-threatening illness. With this knowledge, you will know when to go to the ER and when to take some painkillers at home and rest.

Besides that, you can call your doctor. Some doctors will talk to patients after hours. Describe to him or her symptoms that you have. This will help him or her advice you on which facility to visit.

Additionally, you can call an express center or urgent care center. Describe to them the symptoms that you have. The medical expert on the other side can help to tell if you should come in or head straight to the ER. However, in most cases, if you are able to make a call, it might be a sign that you just panicked.

Costs are another consideration. When picking which facility to visit, you have to consider the economic aspect of your decision. You may end up paying hundreds of dollars for something as simple as being treated for minor chest pain at the ER. Most express and urgent care centers will only charge you a fraction of an ER visit. Besides that, the insurer will settle your bill without any qualms.


In summary, education is power. The more you know about where to go for any condition you have, the better it is for you. For instance, if you are experiencing joint aches, they may not be considered an emergency unless they resulted from a fall. A home remedy such as some painkillers and an ice pack placed on the surface of the painful area will suffice. Remember to use the ER as sparingly as possible.



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