Using The ER
When should I use the emergency room?
Learn when to use the emergency room and how emergency rooms see patients.
Any time you feel emergency care is necessary to save a life or prevent a permanent disability call 911.
If you think you are having a heart attack or stroke, DO NOT DRIVE! Call 911 for transport and immediate medical attention.
Thinking about going to the ER because it's convenient or because it's necessary?
- Emergency Rooms do not take patients on a first come, first serve basis. They will treat the sickest individuals first, so you may have to wait longer than expected.
- Non-emergency care in the Emergency Room can cost as much as three times more than the same care available at your doctor's office, and often the ER visits take longer because the providers are not familiar with your health history.
- Emergency doctors focus primarily on treating the symptoms causing concern. Your regular doctor knows your health history and can help you find solutions that improve your overall health.
- Most local clinics offer same-day appointments and appointments after regular business hours. If your clinic is closed, they may have a doctor or nurse that can be reached by phone to help you determine if your condition needs emergency care.
- Check your insurance carrier to see if they have a nurse hotline or whether they require prior authorization for emergency room use.
Whether going to the Emergency Room or clinic, be sure to bring a list of the current medications, vitamins and supplements you are taking.