If you aren’t having an emergency, deciding where to go to get the right medical care may save you time and money.
You have choices for where to go for routine checkups to stay healthy or for non-emergency care, and where to go if you become sick or injured and need urgent medical attention. Use the chart below to help you figure out what type of care you or your family member needs, such as a virtual consultation, the doctor’s office, a health clinic, an urgent care center, the hospital emergency room, or a freestanding emergency room.
When the ER Should Be Used
You should go to the ER for life-threatening symptoms, such as:
- Heart problems
- Breathing problems
- Heavy bleeding
- Broken bones
- Severe pain
When the ER Shouldn’t Be Used
You have choices other than the ER for health concerns like:
- Colds, sore throat and flu symptoms
- Ear or sinus pain
- Cuts that don’t need stitches
- Tolerable pain
Use the chart below as a general guide to help you understand where to go for care when you have certain health concerns. If you or your family member are having an emergency, please call 911.
If you need emergency care, call 911 or seek help from any doctor or hospital immediately.
24-Hour Nurse Advice Line
Your insurance company may have a 24-hour Nurse Advice Line. Nurses are available 24 hours, seven days a week to help you identify your options when you or a family member have health concerns.