Amherst Chamber of CommerceAmherst Chamber of Commerce

Urgent Care vs. Emergency Care


In the event of a medical crisis, sometimes it's hard to determine if you should go to the emergency room or an urgent care center. The Amherst Chamber of Commerce wants to make sure you have all the necessary information to make an informed decision on which to use when a medical emergency occurs.


Emergency rooms provide life saving care every day and you can help make ERs more efficient and effective by knowing how to distinguish emergency, urgent and routine health concerns in your every day life. It is important to keep in mind that the more you use emergency care, the higher your premiums will be in the future so it is always a good idea to make sure you are utilizing the proper care.


Urgent Care

An urgent condition is defined as an illness or injury that will not cause further disability or death if not treated immediately, but requires professional attention to prevent it from developing into a greater threat. Urgent care centers should be used only if your primary care physician is not available. The Amherst Chamber advises that you check your primary care office hours as many doctors are beginning to extend their hours later into the day to accommodate their patients. Any follow-up care for your urgent care visit should also be directed to your primary care physician.


Example of potential urgent care situations include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Bruises, abrasions or minor cuts
  • Ear, eye or skin infections
  • Migraine Headaches
  • Sprains or strains
  • Moderate Fever
  • Colds, cough or flu
  • Minor burns
  • Urinary Tract Infections
  • Respiratory Infections


If you have a medical condition such as diabetes, heart disease of asthma, check with your primary care physician about symptoms that may require emergency care.


Emergency Care

An emergency medical condition is defined as anything you believe could threaten life, limb or eyesight without immediate treatment. If the symptom requires immediate medical treatment, or there are painful symptoms requiring immediate attention to relieve suffering, the situation is an emergency.


Examples of emergency situations include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Severe or Uncontrollable Bleeding
  • Chest Pains
  • Head Injury or Broken Bones
  • Inability to Breathe, Shortness of Breathe or No Pulse
  • Back or Spinal Cord Injury
  • Sudden Slurred Speech, Visual Changes or Weakness
  • Major Burns
  • Severe Reaction to Bug Bite, Medication or Food


If you have any questions regarding your health care coverage for emergency room or urgent care visits, please reach out to our Insurance Benefits Manager Christian Solecki at 632-6905 or at anytime. Christian is always available to review your current policy and discuss other coverage options with you.


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