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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 CareFree Standing ER
Open 24hrs a day, 365 days a yearX
IV fluids & medications
Tele-stroke XX
On-site helicopter for transferring patientsXX
Experienced ER trained providers
In-house lab testsYes, but limited
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 or speaking
  • 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
  • Any injury that is limb or life threatening

Learn more about GRMC’s ER

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
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Ear infections
  • Cannot get an appointment with your primary care provider

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.

GRMC’s Urgent Care located in Clear Springs provides care for the entire family – from pediatrics to geriatrics. We offer a full range of urgent care services and offer sports and band physicals. Walk-ins are welcomed!

Learn more about GRMC’s Urgent Care

All Emergency Department Services