What are some key differences between an emergency room and an urgent care center?

When you’re ill, the last thing you want to think about is getting hit with an unexpected bill or being relocated to a different medical center based on your level of need.  So, save any confusion when the time comes by familiarizing yourself with when and why you should visit an urgent care or an emergency room.

  • What they can treat

    • Urgent care centers can treat minor emergencies, illnesses, and minor traumas.  Think:
      • Allergies and Asthma
      • Broken Bones
      • Burns, rashes and bites
      • Colds, coughs and flu
      • Cuts and bruises
      • Eye Injuries and infections
      • Headaches and pain
      • Other Infections – skin, UTI
      • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
      • Sprains and strains
    • Emergency rooms can treat real emergent medical concerns like breathing issues, chest pain, severely broken limbs, seizures, coughing up blood, fever that won’t go away or accompanies a stiff neck, and more. While an ER can treat those minor emergencies as well, you’ll be paying ER prices for something that could be taken care of in an urgent care setting.
  • Their hours
    • Urgent care centers are usually open longer hours than traditional doctor’s offices, and on the weekends and holidays. For example, all of our centers are open every day from 8am to 8pm including weekends and most holidays. Walk-ins are always welcome, or hold a same-day / next day spot in line that meets your schedule. We accept most major insurance plans and offer affordable self-pay rates.
    • An ER is open all day, every day, including weekends and all holidays.
  • Length of visit
    • Urgent care centers are known for getting patients in and taken care of quickly. At ChoiceOne, most visits in total last under an hour.
    • Some freestanding ERs boast short wait times, but the CDC reports the average ER visit takes more than two hours.

Whenever you have a minor injury or illness, we’re here for you.  Our clinical teams see patients seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., including most holidays.