Urgent Care vs. Immediate Care vs. Emergency Care

Being treated when you need the treatment is just as important as getting the treatment you need. It is thus important that you go to the right place for your condition. Knowing the difference between urgent, immediate, and emergency care is the first in being treated. It will help you know where to turn to for your medical condition. Here is a bit more about these different types of medical treatment facilities.

Immediate Care

Immediate is a treatment option that accommodates those who need to see a doctor now although their condition may not be life-threatening. This is especially so when the condition does not warrant a visit to the ER. No appointment is needed, and a walk in is expected and accepted for non-emergency cases. This is because most of the non-emergency conditions can occur at any time, yet treatment is needed. However, patients need to know that immediate care centers are not recommended for emergency conditions.

Urgent Care

Urgent care is a phrase often used throughout the US. Most people consider it synonymous with immediate care. However, these two phrases are quite different. Urgent care centers are better-equipped to handle serious conditions, although they are not appropriate for severe emergencies.

Emergency Care

Emergency care centers, such as Frontline ER are facilities that you visit when you feel that there is an immediate threat to your life or limb. For such conditions, every second counts, and the ER is equipped to handle them.

The ER may be attached to a hospital and will operate 24/7. Patients with the most serious conditions should visit this facility. In this facility, those with serious conditions are attended to first. For those with minor issues, it might mean having to wait for hours before being attended. Getting care at the ER can be quite expensive compared to visiting an immediate care center or urgent care center.

When to visit the ER

If you experience severe chest pain, difficulty breathing, ingesting poisons or objects, major trauma, severe burns, seizures, extreme diarrhea, uncontrolled bleeding, or animal bites by snakes or other animals, go to the ER. Additionally, any incident of fainting should be treated at the ER. These facilities have doctors, nurses, equipment, and other medical experts that are designed to ensure that loss of life is minimized.

When to visit the immediate care center or urgent care facility

If you have flu, sore throat, minor cuts, or other minor medical needs, visit these facilities. Not only will it save you time, but it could also save you money. The insurers will usually agree to pay for these minor medical incidents if you go to any of these facilities.

However, if you visit the ER for a non-emergency medical condition, the insurer may not be willing to compensate you. The result is that everything will end up being out of pocket. However, you are at liberty to appeal if you feel that your visit to the ER was warranted. In fact, 39%-59% of all medical appeals sail through according to data from the government.

The immediate care and urgent care medical centers are appropriate for after hours when your GP has closed their office. They can be quite helpful in a non-emergency situation where care is needed all the same. The good thing is that most of them operate well past normal working hours.

Besides that, most of them operate on weekends, and some are even open on public holidays. However, you need to call first and ask whether the center you intend to visit is open. To save yourself the hassle, always inquire early on. That will ensure you have a plan for when an emergency occurs.

You can even ask your GP to provide you with a list of centers where you can visit in case you ever need attention. He or she will no doubt know of a few facilities where you can get treatment at a good cost. Besides that, you can use Google to help you find treatment centers that will assist you to get the medical attention you need.

In some instance, you will need to talk to your insurer. He or she will recommend facilities, which they agree to cover. While it is important to get medical attention, it is equally important to think about your finances. Medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy filings in the US.

Cost comparison of urgent, immediate, and emergency care

Emergency care has the highest costs of any of these. It requires many resources to keep the facility running and to have all the needed staff and equipment. The urgent care centers are quite cheap in comparison to the ER. However, immediate care centers are even cheaper compared to urgent care. If there is an urgent care center close to your home, always go there for non-emergency treatment.

However, keep in mind that for all emergency cases, you will eventually be referred to the ER if the condition is life-threatening.


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