Watch video: Where to go when you need health care

Primary care physician Dr. John Cheng speaks to the benefits and convenience of telehealth visits with your physician.

Being treated at the right time is just as important as getting the right treatment for your medical condition. And knowing the difference between immediate/urgent care and emergency care, Express Care Virtual and a telehealth appointment will help you determine who to call or where to go when you’re not feeling well, have an injury, or experiencing a medical emergency.

There’s no need to delay care. We offer multiple ways for you to safely see a health care provider depending on your needs and the urgency of your situation.

Talk to your primary care provider via telehealth

Primary care is usually your first stop in getting health care that’s not life-threatening, for you and your family. During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we’re making it easy and safe to talk to your primary or specialty health care provider from your home using video technology on your smart phone, tablet or computer. Providers can also consult with you by phone if you prefer.

Your primary care provider can help you with:

  • Fever, cough, cold, flu or sore throats
  • Headaches
  • Skin irritations
  • Minor injuries like minor cuts/burns, sprains

During your video or phone consultation, your provider can talk to you about your health concerns, work on a care plan, and provide a prescription order if needed. A telehealth visit with your provider costs the same as your standard office visit co-pay.

Make an appointment to talk to your provider if you or your family have health concerns. If you live in the LA area, learn more about how telehealth appointments work.  Orange County residents can find out more here.

Express Care Virtual

What if you don’t have a primary care provider and can’t get in right away for something that’s not life-threatening?

Express Care Virtual is a good outlet to consider. This virtual service allows you to have a live, on-demand video visit with one of our nurse practitioners from the safety of your home using a computer, smartphone or tablet. Express Care Virtual is an easy, convenient way to get a diagnosis and treatment recommendation, including a prescription. No appointment is needed.

This service is ideal for many common health conditions, including:

  • Sinus, ear or eye infections
  • Fever, cough, cold, flu or sore throats
  • Rash and joint issues
  • Prescription refills

Express Care Virtual visits are $49 or less per visit and many insurance plans are accepted.  Learn more about Express Care Virtual, including our providers and billing.

When to go to an immediate/urgent care clinic

When you need same-day care for a minor medical emergency, or if you need other services like lab work and vaccinations, visit an immediate/urgent care clinic.  

Get a same-day appointment for treatment of the following:

  • Sprains and minor cuts
  • Minor fractures
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Fever, cough, cold or flu
  • Burns
  • Animal or insect bites
  • Dehydration
  • Vomiting or persistent diarrhea

While many immediate/urgent care clinics are requesting patients to secure a time slot ahead of time, many still accept walk-in appointments. We recommend checking with your local facility prior to your visit. Most clinics have extended hours during the weekdays and weekends.

When to go to the emergency department (ED)

Emergency care is for serious medical conditions that threaten a person’s life or limb. For these medical conditions, every second counts.

Don’t delay care if you’re having a medical emergency. Go directly to an ED or call 911 if you have:

  • Severe chest pain/heart palpitations
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Ingestion of objects or poisons
  • Major/significant trauma or injury
  • Seizures
  • Severe burns
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Uncontrollable bleeding/vomiting blood
  • Animal bites
  • Fainting/unconsciousness

EDs are usually located at hospitals and are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Patients can walk-in or arrive by ambulance.

Don’t delay care during the COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 doesn’t mean health emergencies or chronic conditions take a break. We're ready to give you with the best care you deserve in the safest way possible. As a health system that serves patients across seven states, we have responded to the challenges brought by the coronavirus. We are prepared for these types of scenarios and have protocols in place that help keep patients and caregivers safe. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have: 

  • Separated COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients to minimize the risk of exposure in our facilities
  • Limited visitors and screening everyone who comes into our facilities
  • Procured the equipment and materials required for the treatment of COVID-19
  • Increased COVID-19 testing capacities within our facilities
  • Instituted a protocol to monitor, test and respond to presumed and confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the Providence workforce

Visit for more information about care outlets and to see the latest news from our experts.

About the Author

The Providence Health Team brings together caregivers from diverse backgrounds to bring you clinically-sound, data-driven advice to help you live your happiest and healthiest selves.

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