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Should I go to an Emergency Room
or an Urgent Care Center?

Your primary care provider is the best choice for an acute illness or injury that is not life threatening.  But what if your primary care provider is not available?  Choosing between an ER and Urgent Care can often be very confusing, especially if you find yourself suddenly ill or injured.

An ER is appropriate for any life threatening illness or injury.  If you are experiencing chest pain, fainting, loss of vision, shortness of breath or severe abdominal pain then the ER is the correct choice.  These facilities are open 24/7 and have all the capabilities to handle any type of medical situation.  If in doubt, choosing an ER is usually best.  Calling 911 for chest pain, difficulty breathing or other potential life threatening issues is recommended.  At the ER you may experience a wait time before seeing the provider.  You will usually have a higher out of pocket cost with your health insurance compared to an Urgent Care facility.

Urgent Care is the perfect option for more minor illness and injury.  Examples would be upper respiratory conditions, urinary tract infections, nausea/vomiting, lacerations and sprains.  These facilities are open evenings and weekends.  They have onsite radiology and lab services.  They are able to repair lacerations and remove foreign bodies.  You will typically receive care quicker and at a lower cost than an ER. 

BayCare Urgent Care is affiliated with the BayCare hospitals in the Tampa Bay area.  We offer expert medical care from a group of highly trained and friendly providers.  We keep your cost low by providing discounted pricing for non-insured, self-pay patients.  We strive to provide our patients with the best overall experience possible.  To learn more about us please visit


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