Urgent Care or Emergency Room?

September 17, 2021

Tips for Choosing the Best Place for Treatment

You've just slipped in your driveway and think you may have sprained or broken your ankle. You need to see a doctor. But where? Should you go to the emergency room or to urgent care? How does the COVID-19 pandemic factor into that decision?

"If you are experiencing potentially life-threatening symptoms, go to the emergency room or call 911. Those symptoms include significant shortness of breath, severe chest pain, stroke-like symptoms, significant trauma among other conditions," said Barbara Masser, MD, medical director at Beth Israel Lahey Health Care Center Quincy. "If you are experiencing non-life-threatening symptoms, an urgent care center is a great option, and you can even make an appointment in advance."

Urgent care centers, including Urgent Care Quincy, can perform a multitude of tests, take X-rays, and can offer IV fluids for dehydration or IV antibiotics for an infection. If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, you can also be tested at an urgent care center.

Beth Israel Lahey Health (BILH) recently opened an urgent care clinic as a part of Beth Israel Lahey Health Care Center Quincy at 100 Walter J. Hannon Parkway in Quincy. This facility offers urgent care, as well as primary care, specialty care, and diagnostic imaging in a single, convenient location. It is open seven days a week and treats adults and children over the age of two.

"A key differentiating factor with the urgent care center at Beth Israel Lahey Health Care Center Quincy is you will be seen by a board-certified emergency physician and emergency trained nurse, which is unique in the urgent care field," said Masser, who is also medical director, Ambulatory Emergency Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and assistant professor of Emergency Medicine at Harvard Medical School. "The level of evaluation and care you are given is of very high quality."

Additionally, visiting Urgent Care Quincy can save you time and money. "Right now, the average wait time in the emergency department is five hours, compared to just over an hour in our urgent care," said Richard Fernandez, president, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital–Milton (BID Milton). "Urgent care is faster and less expensive without sacrificing the high-quality medical care that Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital–Milton is known for."

The 17,000 square foot facility is conveniently located next to public transportation, including the MBTA Red Line Quincy Center stop and MBTA bus lines 225 and 236. Urgent care appointments can be made by visiting www.bilh.org/quincy or by calling 617-615-4000.

So for that sprained or broken ankle, rash, and other mild-moderate symptoms, going to urgent care is the answer. Patients needing more complex emergency care can be seamlessly transferred to BID Milton where their medical information will be readily available to the treatment team thanks to an integrated medical record system. The BID Milton Emergency Department, which serves more than 33,000 patients a year, is staffed with board-certified emergency physicians, highly qualified emergency registered nurses (RNs), a team of support staff, and a network of specialists who can be called in at a moment's notice.