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Is It Urgent or An Emergency?

by Susannah Wollman

You ignored all the warnings and fell off the ladder no one was holding steady for you. You caught your toe in the lawn mower when you were wearing flipflops to do the chore. You can’t keep anything down and it’s the middle of the night. Your chest hurts and you’re afraid it might be a heart attack.

Where do you go?

According to the University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston has more than 60 hospitals, scores of specialty health clinics, and physicians per capita well above the state and national average.[1] Since roughly a third of the adult population (under age 65) are uninsured, Houston has more uninsured than any other major city in the US.

Emergency Room care is trending more and more towards primary care related cases. This is causing overcrowding. So why is this an issue?

Federal law says that hospitals must treat anyone who comes into the emergency room regardless of their ability to pay. This means that there will be a lot of people in emergency rooms that actually do not have an emergent problem, delaying the care of those who do.

While the American College of Emergency Physicians reports that 92% of emergency visits are from “very sick people who need care within 1 minute to 2 hours,” the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey estimates that one-third to one-half of all ER visits are for non-urgent care.[2]

Therefore, it is important to determine if you need an emergency room or not before you head out to get help or call for the EMTs.

What’s the criteria?

If you have life-threatening symptoms, an emergency room is always the best choice. But if your symptoms don’t indicate you may be dying, Urgent Care is probably indicated. Let’s look at a chart to see what to do.

What’s it going to cost me?

Although getting proper medical care shouldn’t be based on cost, any normally intelligent person weighs the cost/benefit to see if emergency room care or urgent care can meet the need at the lowest cost.

The following is an estimate of costs for using an emergency room vs. using an urgent care location. These are estimates only, and may not reflect actual costs.

Here’s the good news.

If you live in the Houston area, you have America’s ER nearby.

Laboratory Services

In addition to emergency and urgent care needs, our CLIA-certified laboratory meets the nation’s most stringent requirements for human specimen testing and offers comprehensive adult and pediatric diagnostic testing and screening 24/7. Most tests can be analyzed on-site with immediate results. Our onsite testing includes:

  • Advanced hematology
  • Comprehensive chemistry panels
  • Arterial blood gasses
  • Complete cardiac panels
  • Liver panels
  • Cholesterol panels
  • Urinalysis
  • Diabetic testing
  • Hemoccult testing
  • Point of care testing
  • Rapid strep screening
  • Pregnancy testing
  • Urine drug screening
  • Influenza A/B
  • RSV, mono testing

Outpatient Imaging Services

America’s ER Medical Centers are proud to offer the highest quality radiology services in your community typically available only in traditional hospital settings. We strive to provide the very best in imaging services including careful attention to the safety and care for all of our patients by offering the lowest-dose imaging equipment available.

As an outpatient imaging center, our referring physicians have access to every routine radiological test so they can obtain the advanced diagnostic testing necessary to accurately diagnose their patients’ conditions.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Uncompromising high-quality service at an affordable cost.

  • Hassle-free scheduling – let our in-house MRI Registrars guide you through the process
  • In-network with most major insurance companies
  • In-house MRI authorizations
  • Competitive cash rates
  • Same day reads

Physicals and immunizations

Because America’s ER is open 24/7, you can schedule your physical or keep your immunizations up to date at your convenience. And you don’t even need an appointment!