WPS Health Insurance Blog

Urgent care, the ER, or a doctor visit—what’s the best choice?

Posted by Alexandra Radel

Mar 26, 2015 9:54:00 AM

doctor visitsYou’re out doing yard work, fall, and bend your wrist—the wrong way. Ouch! You’re pretty sure it’s sprained. What should you do? How do you know if you should go to urgent care or the emergency room?

Urgent Care

These clinics have extended hours and are not equipped to deal with major medical traumas or conditions. Choosing urgent care can save time, and often money, by using one of the many urgent care clinics available to you through your WPS health plan. But, before you head out to urgent care, a good first step is to call your doctor (Find a Doctor tool) and describe your symptoms. Many doctors can rearrange their schedules to squeeze patients in for non-emergency medical attention. Examples of when a visit to urgent care may be appropriate include:

  • Lacerations – deep cuts or wounds that may require stitches
  • Sprains, strains, or deep bruises
  • Mild to moderate asthma attacks
  • Ear infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Coughs and congestion
  • Diarrhea
  • Sore throats
  • Insect bites
  • Rashes

Emergency Room

ERs are open 24 hours a day and set up as a triage, meaning patients are prioritized from most ill to least ill. Patients who have life-threatening injuries or illnesses are treated first, while others with minor injuries or illnesses have to wait. Examples of when an ER visit may be appropriate include, but are not limited to:

  • Chest pain lasting more than a couple of minutes
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Sudden or severe pain
  • Coughing or vomiting blood
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Other severe issues

Telehealth services from Stat Doctors™

Traveling to get care can be inconvenient and a waste of valuable time and money. With your WPS individual health plan, and many group health plans*, you get instant access to Telehealth services from Stat Doctors™. With this service you get access to board-certified, emergency room physicians by mobile device, tablet, or phone whether you’re at home or work. Stat Doctors physicians diagnose and treat most minor medical conditions and even prescribe medications that save you money and time.

Get the care you need

When a serious illness or injury strikes:

  • Consider the severity of your condition and options. Do you need care right away or can you wait?
  • Is it during the day when you may be able to see your doctor or after regular office hours?

When you’re ill or injured, the last thing you want to do is sit and wait for treatment. Making a smart choice for medical treatment can save you stress, time, and maybe some money.

*Optional for large and self-funded groups, see your WPS benefit summary or talk with your agent for more information.

Topics: Individuals & Families