When to Use Urgent Care/Occupational Clinics vs. Emergency Rooms

Here is some important information you should know about Urgent Care/Occupational Clinics vs. Emergency Rooms: 

The Emergency Room (ER) needs to be an option for your employees, especially in emergent situations, but it doesn’t always need to be the first option.  When facing conditions that are life or limb threatening, take no chances and send your employees to the ER.

However, many national health research organizations tell us that a large portion of ER visits could be better handled at Urgent Care (UC) or Occupational Clinic (OCC) facilities. Why?

  1. It costs a lot of money for hospitals to support the equipment and staff required. So, visits to the ER generally cost much more than those to the UC or OCC facility.
  2. ER’s treat the patients with the most serious conditions first, so those with less urgent needs will often wait longer to see a provider.

When to go to Urgent Care/Occupational Clinics
Here are a few common conditions that lack the severity to merit trips to the ER:

– Minor accidents and falls
– Sprains and strains
– Moderate back problems
– Cuts and lacerations
– Abrasions and contusions
– Minor broken bones, burns and eye injuries

Benefits of Urgent Care/Occupational Clinics
Here are just a few of the many benefits of sending your employees to the UC/OCC facility for non-emergent cases:

– Employees benefit from 2-3 times faster service
– Staff is familiar with the importance of treating work related injuries
– Clinics understand the importance of Return-to-Work (RTW) programs
– Necessary DWC forms will be completed
– Continuity of follow up care is performed
– Better price for the same medical service

Significance of Accessibility and Direction
Before directing your employees to the ER, be sure it is an emergent need.  Remember, when employees, employers, and or the general public rely on UC/OCC facilities, they allow emergency room resources for more serious and life threatening conditions. Accessibility is key and in the result an employee needs care after hours and a UC/OCC is not open, the ER may be the most suitable option if attention cannot wait.

For more information, contact the IMO Med-Select Network® at 888.466.6381 or by email at netcare@injurymanagement.com. To search for a Texas network provider by specialty, please click here.


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