Helpful Information about When to Visit Urgent Care Versus the Emergency Department

Monte Urgent Care Offers Alternative to ER Visit

By Dr. Amanda Parsons, Vice President of Community & Population Health at Montefiore Health System

HEALTH- Have you ever had a serious health problem and wanted to go see a doctor, but couldn’t get an appointment with your usual primary care provider so you ended up going to the Emergency Room instead? You are not alone. 

At Montefiore, we estimate roughly half of the visits that come to our Emergency Department could have been safely addressed in primary care or in Urgent Care centers. However, many patients are not familiar with Urgent Care or the services they provide.

Montefiore has three Urgent Care centers that are open 7 days a week, 365 days a year. They are open late (from 2 pm to 10:15 pm on weeknights) and on weekends (8:45 am to 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday). These sites feature high-quality board-certified doctors who can treat children and adults. They can also do a range of procedures on-site including lab tests, X-rays, nebulizers, splints, and stitches. 

For patients without life-threatening issues, Urgent Care centers can usually provide faster service than Emergency Departments while providing high-quality care. Montefiore Urgent Care sites accept all major insurances, including Managed Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, and Fee-for-Service Medicaid.

So, if you’re feeling unsure about using Urgent Care instead of the Emergency Department, here are some facts you should know:

1. Habit and Comfort

• Many people are familiar with the high-quality care and one-stop-shop experience they get at the Montefiore Emergency Department. We want our patients to know they can get the same great care for their serious, but not life-threatening, issues.

2. Fear

• Feeling ill or having a sick loved one can be a very scary experience. Some people feel more comfortable knowing that the Emergency Room has lots of staff and services. However, Montefiore’s Urgent Care centers also have well-trained staff, services and the equipment necessary to deal with urgent but non-life threatening problems.

3. Medical Records

• Some people choose to go to the Montefiore Emergency Room because they know the clinical team will have access to their electronic medical records. The good news is that the Montefiore Urgent Care sites use the same medical records as the Montefiore Emergency Rooms, hospital and primary care settings, so they can look up the same historical information. This helps reduce the number of questions patients have to answer about their medical histories, and also helps makes sure that prior test results are available for consideration or comparison.

4. Answering Machines

• Some doctor’s offices, when closed, have an answering machine message saying the office is closed and that if you need attention, you should go to the Emergency Room. This is true if you have a life-threatening emergency (like severe chest pain, sudden paralysis, serious burns or broken bones), but if you have more minor issues like an asthma exacerbation, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, cold or flu, muscle pain or a cut, you can go to Urgent Care instead.

So next time you or a loved one has a serious, but not life-threatening medical problem and you can’t get to your primary care provider, please consider visiting one of our Urgent Care sites:

1. Grand Concourse: 2532 Grand Concourse, Bronx NY 10458 (Between East Fordham Rd & E 192nd Street) Phone: 718-960-1569

2. Bronx East: 2300 Westchester Avenue, Bronx NY 10462 (Between Havemeyer Ave & Glover St) Phone: 718-409-8888

3. Cross County: 1010 Central Park Ave, Yonkers NY 10704 (Entrance on Allen Ave N) Phone: 914-964-4111

If you can’t get to one of those, Montefiore has a partnership with City MD. City MD has over 110 locations across New York and New Jersey including Bronx and Westchester. Visit www.cityMD.com for all locations and hours.

Learn more about when to use the emergency room at our first Emergency Department Utilization event in partnership with community boards 9, 10, and 11 on Tuesday, June 18th from 6-8 pm at the Morris Park Community Association Office (1824 Bronxdale Avenue). I will be representing the Montefiore Office of Community & Population Health in conversation with a local city council member and Dr. Frank Illuzzi, physician and Chief Medical Director of City MD.

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