ER, Urgent Care or Physician Care
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ER, Urgent Care or Physician Care

Choosing the Most Appropriate Care

It can be difficult to know when to seek care at an urgent care facility or when to go to the nearest Emergency Room. When experiencing severe pain or feeling ill, a person may not be able to assess whether or not they have a true emergency.

EMERGENCY ROOM CARE is for life-threatening conditions:

People who have any of the following symptoms should call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room: 

  • Chest pain 
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath 
  • Sudden blurred vision, dizziness, weakness or loss of coordination/balance 
  • Numbness in the arm, leg or face 
  • Severe abdominal pain or headache 
  • Bleeding that will not stop 
  • Coughing up or vomiting blood 
  • Severe burns or life-threatening injury 
  • Seizures

A hospital emergency room, such as at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, is open 24 hours per day, seven days a week, including weekends and holidays. Appointments are not needed, although the most critically ill patients are usually treated first. Emergency room treatment for a condition that turns out not to be a true emergency, is often covered at a lower rate.

URGENT CARE deals with situations that are moderate or serious including:

  • Cuts
  • Broken bones
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Headaches
  • Abdominal pain
  • Illness or other non-life-threatening conditions 

Urgent care facilities, such as Doctors on Duty, are typically open every day, including weekends and holidays, and have early morning and evening hours. Appointments are not needed and patients are usually seen in the order in which they arrive. Urgent care is generally covered by most insurance programs.

In an urgent care facility, Board-certified Physicians, Registered Nurses and other medical professionals—who are skilled in emergency medicine—provide care for patients. They examine each patient, and if true emergency care is required, the patient can then be referred or transferred directly to the nearest Emergency Room.  

A PHYSICIAN’S OFFICE provides on-going care for:

  • Illness
  • Follow-up to emergency treatment 
  • Chronic conditions
  • Health checkups
  • Immunizations