Emergency rooms are designed to treat patients with critical conditions and life-threatening injuries. They are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Urgent care clinics are designed for patients whose illnesses or injuries don’t present as life-threatening, but who feel they cannot wait until their primary care provider can treat them.
Urgent care clinics are typically open on weekends and with extended weeknight hours. They generally see patients on a walk in basis. An urgent care clinic can help with a multitude of services, such as minor injuries and lacerations, strains and sprains, uncomplicated fractures, urinary tract infections, gastrointestinal complaints, sore throats or cold and flu symptoms. Most urgent care clinics have the ability to splint and immobilize injuries.
Urgent care clinics are often equipped with X-rays and limited lab testing on-site. However, for a full radiology lab, ultrasound, MRI or CAT scan, you will need to go to an ER.
Another big difference between the two is in the billing. Urgent care clinics are more cost efficient for non-life-threatening injuries and illnesses. Typically, most major insurances are accepted with a copay option.
Dr. Mark Montano
CareNow Urgent Care
South Denver Locations
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