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Where is the best and safest place to get your healthcare needs met?

It's 2 a.m. and you wake up with a terrible pain in your lower back. It's 5 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon and you suddenly feel extremely nauseous. It's 9 a.m. on a Wednesday morning and that cough that's been bothering you for a couple of days suddenly seems to take a turn for the worse. What should you do in any and all of these situations? Should you visit the emergency room? Can you get an appointment with yourprimary care physician ? What about those urgent care centers that are popping up all over the place? Where can you be seen in the timeliest manner and get the most appropriate care for whichever health issue you're facing?

This can be tricky to answer, especially when there is still so much COVID-19 circulating in our community. However, it helps to know the pros and cons associated with each type of service:

  • While an emergency room is likely to offer the most resources and is able to handle most medical problems, they may also be your most expensive and slowest care option, unless you have a life-threatening illness or injury. Most emergency departments are also attached to a hospital and can admit you directly if you need surgery or other critical intervention.
  • An urgent care center may have an X-ray machine and/or the ability to perform some lab tests, but may need to transport you to an emergency room  if the severity of the issue is beyond the scope of its services.
  • Your primary care provider likely knows you and your medical history best, but may not be able to handle acute problems right away or those that require more advanced care as fast as an emergency room or urgent care center.
  • A retail clinic also provides walk-in or by appointment services at more convenient times and locations, including weekend hours where many doctors’ offices might be closed. In addition to immunizations and wellness type visits, they can handle minor illnesses and injuries, usually at a lower out-of-pocket cost than an urgent care center.
  • Telehealth visits - These may be available with your own personal PCP or specialist or with our Telehealth partner, MDLIVE, and is a great, low-cost option for relatively minor illnesses or injuries you want handled quickly, at little or no cost and without the risk of catching something from someone else. 
  • Nurse On Call Line - Much like telehealth, AvMed’ s 24/7 Nurse On Call line is always just a phone call away and provided to all our Members at no cost. They can answer health related questions, recommend self-treatment options and recommend the most appropriate treatment for your symptoms or conditions. 1-888-866-5432.


Want to learn more about all the care options available to you as an AvMed Member?

Go to our homepage and use the quick links.