ER vs. Urgent Care vs. Free Standing ER

Deciding where to go for care, a hospital, free-standing ER or urgent care, can be difficult, especially when you or a loved one needs quick medical attention. What’s the difference between the Emergency Department at GRMC vs. an Urgent Care Center or Free Standing ER? This helpful chart shows why in an emergency situation, you or your loved one will be best served choosing the Emergency Department at GRMC.

GRMCUrgent Care
Emergency Care Clinic
Free Standing ER
Open 24hrs a day, 365 days a yearX
IV fluids & medicationsX
Tele-stroke XX
On-site helicopter for transferring patientsXX
Experienced ER trained doctorsX
In-house lab testsSome tests
Joint Commission Accredited XX
In-house specialty physicians XX

What’s a True Emergency?

Although this is not a complete list, below are some examples of true emergency situations:

  • Chest pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Sudden, severe pain, such as a headache or stomachache
  • Head or back injuries
  • Consistent bleeding or vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Poisoning
  • Major burns and cuts
  • Choking
  • Broken bones

What’s an Urgent Care Need?

Urgent care centers are the right place to go for medical problems that need immediate—but not emergency—attention. Some examples of these types of medical situations include:

  • Minor sprains
  • Small cuts
  • Sore throats
  • Fevers
  • Ear infections

Urgent care centers can be a good option at night and on weekends, when you have a non-medical emergency and your doctor may not be available.