Across the country, community health centers are looking for strategies to help address rising emergency room (ER) volumes. A major step towards decreasing ER capacity happens outside the four walls of a hospital – reducing the number of unnecessary visits by changing health-seeking behavior.
An estimated 60% of all Medicare ER visits are avoidable, and it will be critical to understand the factors that drive these visits, in order to reduce waste and improve quality.
In practice, providers find that it remains an important component of care delivery to explain when an emergency room visit is warranted. Key to this would be to ensure an understanding of the differences between urgent care and emergency care.
What is it for?
An emergency room visit is based on a medical or psychiatric condition that requires immediate medical attention to prevent a more serious health condition that could place one’s life in jeopardy. If a medical problem is life-threatening, call 911 immediately or go to the nearest hospital.
Common conditions needing emergency care include: chest pain or pressure that radiates to the neck, arm, back or shoulder; shortness of breath; moderate to severe burns; unconsciousness; convulsions or seizures; severe bleeding; and poisoning.
What is it for?
An urgent care visit is for an acute illness or injury that requires prompt medical attention but is not an emergency medical condition. Care is provided on a walk-in basis and patients are seen according to the level of urgency as determined by triage or an assessment.
In an urgent care setting, needs addressed include but are not limited to: sprains and cuts; headaches; high fevers; mild breathing issues; sore throats; earaches; colds and flu; and seasonal allergies.
An urgent care need may also include a situation where the experience of an acute illness or injury begins to get progressively worse over a short period of time.
Watts Healthcare Center offers a Same Day Clinic, where you can walk in for same day services with a provider. If you have an urgent care need that requires prompt medical attention, please call us at (323) 564-4331.