Health & Safety

July 6, 2012

Urgent care vs. emergency room: Pays to know difference

Courtesy of 56th Medical Group

Choosing the appropriate type of care for a medical condition accomplishes several important things, including:

  • choosing the appropriate level of treatment for the medical condition
  • making the best use of time by selecting medical care wisely
  • ensuring highly specialized, expensive emergency room resources are used efficiently

 

Urgent care

If a condition arises and it can’t wait until a scheduled appointment with a primary care manager, urgent care may be an appropriate choice. However, before doing so, contact a PCM before going to urgent care.

PCMs can be contacted anytime of the day at (623) 856-2273 to discuss symptoms. The PCM can assist members over the phone and help them decide on the most appropriate medical resource.

Staff at urgent care centers cannot answer medical questions or advise members over the phone. In general, if the illness or injury is something that would require a member to be seen by a PCM but an appointment can’t be made right away or if it’s after hours, urgent care is the right choice. If urgent care is needed, members can request a referral by calling (623) 856-2273.

Reasons urgent care may be needed are: 

  • Minor lacerations
  • Asthma
  • Bites, animal or insect
  • Migraine headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Rising fever

 

Hospital emergency room

TRICARE defines an emergency as a medical, maternity or psychiatric condition that would lead a “prudent lay person” (someone with average knowledge of health and medicine) to believe that a serious medical condition exists, or that the absence of immediate medical attention would result in a threat to life, limb, or eyesight, or when the person has painful symptoms requiring immediate attention to relieve suffering. This includes situations where a person is in severe pain or is at immediate risk to self or others.

An emergency room is prepared to treat life-threatening illnesses and injuries 24/7. The emergency department sees patients in order of priority, based on the seriousness of their conditions. If you use the ER for nonemergency conditions, a long wait can be expected. It’s important to keep hospital emergency departments open for true emergencies.

If someone is unconscious, having trouble breathing, has suffered a serious injury, or may be having a heart attack, call 9-1-1 immediately. If a condition appears serious, paramedics should be called. They are specifically trained to stabilize emergency patients and coordinate their care with the most appropriate hospital emergency department for treatment. In a life-threatening situation or in the case of a serious medical condition, go directly to the nearest emergency room. Inform the emergency room staff of the PCM’s name so they can better coordinate care. Some examples of serious medical conditions or symptoms requiring emergency care are:

  • Severe bleeding
  • Chest pains
  • No pulse
  • Inability to breathe
  • Spinal cord or back injury
  • Severe eye injuries
  • Broken bones

 
By making prudent choices when seeking treatment at an urgent care clinic or a hospital emergency room, members save money and being good stewards of precious medical resources.

For more information about TRICARE benefits, visit www.TriWest.com or call (888) 874-9378.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Pg-3--photo-illustration

Candid money talk improves relationship

There are many reasons why people divorce but at the top of the list are lack of communication and finances. That’s why it’s important to combine these two topics to make for a successful long-lasting relationship. “I bel...
 
 

Security managers: Protecting information Keep bad guys out, let good guys in

At Luke Air Force Base we need Airmen to fly, fight and maintain our aircraft, but we also need Airmen to protect classified information and ensure individuals have the clearances they need in order to complete the mission, and that’s where Luke’s security managers step in. “The security manager acts as the liaison between the...
 
 
6_Security

Home security part of Airman readiness

A home invasion, burglary or robbery can be a terrifying experience. Unfortunately, along with the possible loss or damage to possessions, it can remove the sense of security and make the victim feel vulnerable within his own h...
 

 

Street Beat

The 56th Security Forces Squadron handled the following incidents July 20 through 26 at Luke Air Force Base: Tickets Security forces issued citations for nine moving violations and one nonmoving violation. Traffic-related incidents July 23: Security forces responded to a report of a major two-vehicle accident at Super Saber Street. Driver 1 turned in front...
 
 

Street Beat

The 56th Security Forces Squadron handed the following incidents at Luke Air Force Base July 13 through 19: Tickets Security forces issued citations for four moving violations and one nonmoving violation. Traffic-related incidents July 14: Security forces responded to a report of a minor two-vehicle accident at the intersection of Thunderbird and Kachina streets. There were...
 
 
Staff Sgt. 
LAUSANNE KINDER

944th ASTS Airmen saves child

Staff Sgt.LAUSANNE KINDER Tech. Sgt. Jude Joseph, 944th Aeromedical Staging Squadron medical technician and eight-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department, poses in front of the 944th ASTS building July 8. Joseph was the f...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>