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Should I Go To Urgent Care?

The addition of our Urgent Care at Hutchinson Health has allowed us to provide a care option for those with urgent medical needs not critical enough to be treated in the Emergency Room.

Our Care That Fits program helps to determine where the best care is for your needs , when you arrive. However, most patients should receive care through their primary providers in our clinic. It’s important to understand when to make a scheduled appointment with your provider and when your medical needs are better addressed  in Urgent Care. Here are some commonly asked questions about when you should or should not go to Urgent Care.

I can’t get in to see my primary physician, so should I just ask to see an Urgent Care provider?

  • No. Urgent Care is for patients experiencing a sudden illness or injury that cannot wait, such as a sprained ankle or cut finger. If your medical needs are not urgent, call (320)234-3290 for an appointment with your primary provider. If you are unable to get an appointment with your primary provider, you can ask to see an open practice provider. Our staff will work with you to find an opening with a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant that works best with your schedule. This helps ensure that patients needing urgent care can be seen quickly.

If I go to Urgent Care for something that should be scheduled with my primary physician, do I still need to see my primary physician later?

  • In many cases, yes! Urgent Care does not replace a visit to your primary care provider. It’s very important that you see your primary provider for the majority of your appointments, as they know you well and can follow-up. Our Urgent Care isn’t structured to provide ongoing care over time; care that helps to recognize health signs, tracking things like blood pressure and immunizations, and schedule appropriate screenings and follow-up care. If you see an Urgent Care provider for something that should be covered with your primary physician in a scheduled appointment, you’ll likely need another appointment anyway.

I have a lot going on with my health, can the providers in Urgent Care treat them while I’m there?

  • Urgent care is meant for your immediate needs. Sometimes what you or I may think are different problems may actually be related. The Urgent Care staff will help you prioritize your needs and get you the care that you need today. We can then help you get an appointment with your primary care provider to take care of the rest of your concerns.

I have run out of a prescription. Isn’t talking to an Urgent Care provider the fastest or easiest way to refill my prescription?

  • No. Refills of prescriptions, especially for chronic conditions is best monitored by your primary provider. Urgent Care providers are not familiar with your healthcare plan or prescriptions. The best way to refill a prescription as quickly as possible is to leave a message for your physician, OR use My Chart to send a message with as much detail as you’d like, OR contact with your pharmacist who can facilitate an electronic request on your behalf to refill a medication.

I don’t have time to wait for my scheduled appointment. Isn’t Urgent Care a way to move up my appointment?

  • Urgent Care isn’t meant to accommodate time-sensitive schedules. Urgent Care provides same-day care for problems and injuries that need immediate medical attention, but are not life threatening. Urgent Care treats patients in order of severity, with the most severe conditions first. You can read more about how our triage nurse helps determine the urgency of Care That Fits.

Aren’t wait times shorter in Urgent Care? It feels like it takes less time than waiting to see my regular doctor.

  • Again, wait times in Urgent Care are not necessarily shorter for patients with medical needs that can be addressed in an appointment with their primary physician or an open practice provider. In many cases, working with our schedulers will help you find a provider with an opening. In Urgent Care, patients are seen in order of severity. If your medical need isn’t urgent, it is a much better option to see a physician in the clinic who has an opening in his/her schedule.

I really don’t want to go to the Emergency Room. Can’t Urgent Care just take care of it?

  • It can be confusing to know what the right level of care might be for you. It is why we created Care That Fits. Our triage nurses understand the resources that are available both in the ER and in Urgent Care and can help you find what will provide you the best care.

I don’t have a primary physician, or if I do, I don’t remember who it is.

  • We can help! If you don’t remember the name, give our front desk a call at (320)234-3290. If you would like to learn more about our providers, we have a complete listing along with their specialties and most of our providers have videos on our website. Ask those who know you best for their recommendation and then simply let us know your preference for designating a primary care provider in our system. That way when you call, we can quickly check his/her appointment schedule and find an opening for you.
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