What’s the Difference Between Emergency Room and Urgent Care? - CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System

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What’s the Difference Between Emergency Room and Urgent Care?

As access to health care continues to expand, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the options available for care for an illness, injury or other medical condition. Specifically, many East Texans often must choose between a trip to the emergency room or an Urgent Care facility in a moment that doesn’t offer much time for consideration of the options. In these scenarios, price, availability of treatment and insurance acceptance are often critical factors that, if known, can help you make a more informed decision for your health care. 

When You Should Visit the Emergency Room

The primary purpose of emergency rooms is care for patients in emergency situations. Examples include:

When You Should Visit an Urgent Care Facility

Urgent Care facilities provide immediate medical attention for minor medical conditions that do not require treatment at a hospital emergency room. Examples include:

Cost Difference Between Emergency Room and Urgent Care

For emergency room trips, the price of treatment is the cash price for patients without health insurance. For patients with accepted health insurance, the cost is the amount of an emergency room visit on the patient’s accepted health insurance plan. 

For Urgent Care visits, the price of treatment is the cash price for patients without health insurance. For patients with accepted health insurance, the cost is the amount of a regular doctor’s visit on the patient’s accepted health insurance plan. 

Due to the higher level of care required to be on hand and potentially necessary, emergency room trips cost more than Urgent Care visits, both in cash pricing and in accepted health insurance visit costs. The price of emergency room trips can be substantially increased if the patient must be transferred to a hospital from the emergency room if the emergency room is not adjacent to a hospital. Patients who visit an emergency room at CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital - Tyler, for example, can be taken to a patient room at the hospital during a visit to the Level II Emergency Care Center there without having to be transferred. 

If you have a medical emergency, always call 9-1-1. If your condition is included among the treatable conditions at an Urgent Care facility listed above, CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Urgent Care is open seven days a week, including extended and evening hours on weekdays. If your condition is not an emergency, you can receive expedited medical attention at an CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Urgent Care facility from a physician or advanced practice provider, including X-rays and laboratory services, if necessary.

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