Gena Cooper: Save time and money knowing if you need to go to the emergency room or the emergency room

It’s scary enough to be sick or injured enough to need medical attention – and the uncertainty of where to go can add to an already stressful situation. But how do you know where are you going?

Almost 82% of hospital emergency room visits could be handled by an emergency care facility. Emergency Treatment Centers (UTC) are walk-in clinics that are either affiliated with a hospital network or run by private companies. You can go to an emergency treatment center if you cannot enter with your attending physician or if you need to be seen by a provider after hours. Unlike emergency departments, the wait time can be shorter and the cost of treatment is much lower.

(Photo by Halfpoint; iStock / Getty Images Plus, via UK Healthcare)

Go to emergency care for non-life-threatening conditions such as:

• Fever or flu
• Eye and ear disorders
• Sprains and strains
• Cuts that may require stitches
• Urinary tract infections
• Fractures and minor fractures, such as toes or fingers

Emergency treatment centers may also provide imaging and laboratory tests if ordered by your primary care provider, as well as flu shots and other routine vaccinations and physical exams required by patients. schools, sports or camps.

Go to a hospital emergency department for serious illness or injury, which may include:

• Serious injuries and trauma
• Chest pain
• Severe respiratory distress
• Head injuries
• Stroke
• Seizures
• broken bones
• Severe burns
• Severe pain

Emergency care centers and emergency departments accept most major insurance plans, but the emergency care co-pay can be much lower. The average cost of treating a UTI in a CTU is $ 112, compared to $ 655 in an emergency department.

If you need a COVID-19 test, find a local testing site near you. Emergency departments cannot accept testing from those who have no symptoms or have mild symptoms.

Gena Cooper, MD, is the medical director of pediatric emergency medicine and the University of Kentucky Medical Center

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