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Published on July 28, 2022

The Right Level of Care at the Right Time

little girl with thermometer in mouth

By Brittnie Eakle, EvergreenHealth Staff Writer

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

It's so important to seek medical care for you and your family, but with a range of choices and levels of care — from same-day primary care appointments to walk-in urgent care or trip to the emergency department — it can be challenging to decide which option is most appropriate, especially in the heat of the moment.

Establishing care with a primary care provider

Primary care visits require an appointment and is best suited for patients who need continuation of care that covers a broad scope of health areas on an ongoing basis. Rather than specializing in a specific area, such as cardiology, a primary care provider has an overall understanding of your health.

Primary care includes medication management, disease prevention, health maintenance, counseling, patient education, and diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illnesses in a variety of healthcare settings.

In a recent podcast episode of Check-Up Chat with EvergreenHealth, Brandon Smith, ARNP, provider at EvergreenHealth Primary Care in Canyon Park discusses the advantages of establishing care with a primary care provider.

When a walk-in urgent care the best option

Urgent care is the best option for treating a condition that requires prompt attention but is not life threatening.

Urgent care does not require an appointment and is a great resource for when you need timely care for an unexpected injury or illness:

  • Colds, flu, fever
  • Minor cuts, burns and sprains
  • UTI
  • Allergies
  • Insect bites or minor animal bites
  • Pink eye
  • Sore throat
  • Earache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Stitches
  • Rash

Urgent care should not be used as a resource for medication management and refilling prescriptions for chronic issues.

When to seek emergency care

Emergency care is for life threatening medical emergencies that require immediate medical attention. Head to the emergency department or call 911 if someone is experiencing:

  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Signs of stroke
  • Head injuries or trauma
  • Severe bleeding
  • Loss of vision
  • Severe burns
  • Broken bones

As always, call 911 if you can't make it to the emergency department promptly.

EvergreenHealth offers a broad spectrum of specialties and services ensure you will find the level of expertise you seek, including 12 primary care practices, 8 urgent cares and three 24/7 emergency room locations.

For more information and locations, please visit

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