The Right Time & Right Place to Care for You

January 31, 2023 Providence News Team

When you’re not feeling well and you need to seek medical care, the last thing you need is to be confused about the options – should you call your primary care provider? Try Virtual Care? Go to Urgent Care or ExpressCare? Visit the emergency room/department? 

The struggle is over! Below is a simple guide on how to choose the right care at the right time and place for you. Emergency rooms and departments are for emergencies – but if you can seek care through your primary care provider, a virtual visit or an Urgent Care/ExpressCare center, this may work best for you and your family. 

And with the cold and flu season still going strong, it’s important for you to know and understand what the best options are for keeping everyone healthy and happy. 


#1: Primary Care Providers & Virtual Visits 

You can reach out to your primary care provider when you are experiencing any health concerns, as they offer cost-effective care for acute and chronic conditions and preventive care. Many primary care providers offer same-day appointments; but if you find yourself seeking care outside normal office hours, check the back of your insurance card to see if you have access to a nurse advice line that can provide guidance about where to receive after-hours care. 

If you can’t schedule an in-person appointment, a virtual visit is a great option for affordable and convenient care for common conditions. Virtual visits may be offered through your primary care provider, urgent care or you may utilize ExpressCare Virtual, available seven days a week.  

You can seek care through your primary care provider or virtual visits for common conditions like: 

  • Allergies 
  • Asthma (but NOT an asthma attack) 
  • Back pain 
  • Cold and flu symptoms, including fever 
  • Chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure 
  • Infections (bladder, urinary, yeast, sinus, strep throat, skin, ear, etc.) 
  • Minor cuts/burns 
  • Nausea/vomiting 
  • Rashes 
  • Sprains 
  • Minor or recurring stomach pain 
  • Any other concerns that are not life-threatening 

Don’t have a primary care provider? We can help you find one


#2: Urgent Care 

If you are unable to schedule an appointment with your primary care provider or if you have a minor illness or injury that can't wait, our Urgent Care centers are a cost-effective alternative when compared to an emergency department visit. Urgent Care centers don’t require an appointment and have the capacity to treat urgent but non-life-threatening injuries, illnesses and conditions that include: 

  • Allergy symptoms 
  • Back pain 
  • Broken bones or sprains 
  • Cold and flu symptoms, including fever 
  • Dizziness 
  • Infections (bladder, urinary, yeast, sinus, strep throat, skin, ear, etc.) 
  • Mild wheezing 
  • Migraines 
  • Musculoskeletal injuries 
  • Pediatric complaints 
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) 
  • Urinary complaints 


#3: ExpressCare 

Our ExpressCare neighborhood clinics are also available by appointment or walk-in to provide affordable basic diagnostic tests and relief from many common conditions, including: 

  • Cold and flu symptoms 
  • Earaches 
  • Heartburn or upset stomach 
  • Infections (bladder, urinary, yeast, sinus, strep throat, skin, ear, etc.) 
  • Skin rashes such as hives, poison ivy 
  • Urinary complaints 

Visit to find an Urgent Care or ExpressCare clinic near you. 


#4: Emergency Room 

If you are experiencing a medical emergency or a life-threatening condition with severe symptoms, call 911! If your condition is serious, may lead to a life-threatening condition and includes severe symptoms that occur suddenly and unexpectedly, you can seek treatment at an emergency room, usually at a very high cost. Emergency rooms are for life-threatening emergencies, with symptoms listed below: 

  • Allergic reactions 
  • Asthma attack 
  • Chest pain 
  • Head trauma with loss of consciousness 
  • Seizures 
  • Severe bleeding 
  • Severe stomach pain 
  • Sudden loss of vision 


Download the Providence App 

We’re with you, wherever you are. Make Providence’s app your personalized connection to your health. Schedule appointments, conduct virtual visits, message your provider, view your health records and more. Learn more and download the app

About the Author

The Providence News Team brings you the updates to keep you informed about what's happening across the organizational ecosystem. From partnerships to new doctor announcements, we are committed to keeping you informed.

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