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Urgent Care or Emergency Room?

There are numerous advantages to going to an Urgent Care Center as opposed to the emergency room, such as shorter wait times and faster diagnosis and treatment.

Urgent Care or Emergency Room?

Did you know?  Every year, millions of patients are seen in the emergency room for non life-threatening conditions that could have been treated in an Urgent Care Center.  If all of those patients went to an Urgent Care Center instead, it would save our healthcare system $4.4 billion annually.  Not to mention, it could save the patient money too since most insurance plans cover Urgent Care visits at a lower co-payment than emergency room visits. 

There are numerous advantages to going to an Urgent Care Center as opposed to the emergency room, such as shorter wait times and faster diagnosis and treatment.  Yet many patients still go to the Emergency Room because they didn't know they could be treated for the same condition at an Urgent Care Center.  So when should you go to an Urgent Care Center and when should you go to the emergency room?  Well, we're glad you asked!

Any of the following conditions can be treated at an Urgent Care Center:

  • Minor accidents and falls
  • Minor aches and pains
  • Stitches and stitch removal
  • Simple lacerations
  • Eye irritation and redness
  • Fever or flu
  • Mild vomiting, diarrhea
  • Minor broken bones and fractures (i.e. fingers, toes)
  • Skin rashes and infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Cough or nasal congestion (or other symptoms of the common cold)
  • Ear infection
  • Strep throat
  • Sore throat
  • Pink eye
  • Sinus infection
  • Pneumonia
  • Yeast infection
  • Painful urination
  • Minor burns
  • Sprains/strains


We bet you didn't know Urgent Care Centers could treat so many conditions!  However, Urgent Care Centers are not a substitute for emergency care.  Urgent Care Centers treat injury or illness that requires immediate care, but does not threaten life or limb.    For life-threatening problems, use a hospital-based emergency department.


Some of the conditions that should be treated at the ER include:


  • Severe chest pain
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
  • Compound fracture (bone protrudes through skin)
  • Convulsions, seizures or loss of consciousness
  • Fever in newborn (less than 3 months old)
  • Complex laceration repairs
  • Heavy, uncontrollable bleeding
  • Deep knife wounds or gunshot wounds
  • Moderate to severe burns
  • Sudden or severe pain
  • Coughing or vomiting blood
  • Poisoning
  • Serious head, neck or back injury
  • Pregnancy-related problems
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • (Signs of) Heart attack (i.e.. chest pain lasting longer than two minutes)
  • (Signs of)Stroke (e.g. loss of vision, sudden numbness, weakness, slurred speech, or confusion)
  • Suicidal or homicidal feelings
  • Severe or persistent vomiting or diarrhea

For severe injuries and life threatening conditions like these, you should go to the emergency room.  For less severe symptoms, Urgent Care is usually the way to go!  Not only can going to Urgent Care save you time and money, but if you are already a Community Care Physicians patient, the doctors at the Urgent Care Center will be able to share notes from your visit with your primary care physician through an electronic health record. 

With fast, easy, affordable care and seamless care coordination with your primary care physician, what's not to love about Urgent Care?  (Aside from the unfortunate symptoms which sent you to Urgent Care in the first place).

Community Care Physicians currently has Urgent Care Centers located in Delmar, Latham, Niskayuna and North Greenbush, and will soon be opening two more Urgent Care Centers in Albany and Clifton Park! 

The Albany Urgent Care Center will be opening July 11th at our Park South location at 391 Myrtle Avenue on the fourth floor, across from Albany Medical Center.  Hours of operation will be 10am-8pm daily including weekends, and 10am-5pm on holidays.  Most major insurances are accepted and patients 3 months of age and older can be treated on a walk in basis, no appointments necessary! 

The Clifton Park Urgent Care Center will be in the new building currently being constructed at 1783 Route 9 in Clifton Park.  Stay tuned for details!

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