Emergency Room or Primary Care Physician?
Too often, patients in our country – even right here in Oregon’s Umpqua Valley – visit the emergency room to treat conditions and injuries that would be better addressed by less intensive methods of care. Establishing and maintaining a relationship with a primary care provider and knowing about your local urgent care options—as opposed to relying mainly on emergency treatment—will not only deliver better overall, long-term health care outcomes, it will also save you valuable time and money.
According to a study by Truven Health Analytics, a full 71 percent of emergency room visits in America could have been avoided with no additional harm to the patient. Of that 71 percent, nearly 50 percent of patients reported symptoms or injuries that could have been treated at a primary care provider or required emergency care that preventative primary care could have helped avoid. The results are clear: In many situations where patients visit the ER, regular primary care would be the better choice.
In addition to more appropriate care and better health outcomes, avoiding the emergency room when it isn’t truly necessary saves you time and money. With an ER visit easily costing $1,200 or more on average and visits to primary care physicians averaging around $200, making the choice to pass up the emergency room can result in significant savings. And with an average ER visit taking two hours according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, choosing a primary care physician or urgent care facility instead will save you precious time as well.
Umpqua Health encourages you to Do One Thing for Better Health. If you haven’t already, establish an ongoing relationship with a primary care provider. It’s essential for optimal health. While there’s no question you should visit the emergency room for severe and life-threatening conditions (suspected stroke or heart attack, broken bones, deep cuts, head injuries, severe pain, serious burns, etc.), when it comes to more minor ailments, visiting your primary care physician or urgent care facility as your first option is typically more efficient, more economical and more effective.
Would you like to make an appointment with an Umpqua Health primary care provider? Contact our Member Services team. We’ll be happy to assist you with your health care needs. Maybe you have a pressing health concern – make a same-day appointment at one of Umpqua Health’s clinic locations. Or, do you need to enroll in health care coverage or check your Oregon Health Plan eligibility? We can connect you to resources to help with that, too.