Understand your care options. Inside and out.
When you’re sick or injured there are several places to go for care – a doctor’s office, an urgent care center, or the emergency room. How do you choose between the three of them? Here’s a closer look at your options, so you can make the best decisions for you and your family.
FIRST OPTION: PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN
Your Primary Care Physician, or PCP, should be your first choice for all non-emergency situations. As the quarterback of your overall health, your PCP is best for handling your routine healthcare needs and any chronic conditions. If you’re having symptoms and not sure if you need emergency care, always call your PCP, so he or she can evaluate you, and then advise you where you need to go.
ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS: URGENT CARE CENTER, WALK-IN CLINIC OR RETAIL TELEHEALTH (AMWELL®)
Need to take care of a problem right away because you feel sick or uncomfortable, and your PCP is unavailable? An urgent care center or walk-in clinic are good options. Generally, urgent care centers offer walk-in service and are open before and after regular business hours and weekends.
Blue KC’s partnership with American Well (Amwell*) brings you care wherever you are – right in the palm of your hand – 24/7. You can download the Amwell app directly to your smart phone or tablet, or visit Amwell.com.
*American Well’s online Care Group is an independent provider contracted to participate in Blue KC’s commercial provider networks.
EMERGENCY OPTION: EMERGENCY ROOM
Emergency rooms are designed for serious or life-threatening medical emergencies, not for routine care or minor ailments. When you go to the emergency room, a healthcare provider who may be unfamiliar with your medical history, will determine whether you need emergency care. It may also cost you more.
If you feel you are dealing with a health emergency, call 911 or go to the emergency room right away. You must notify Blue KC of any emergency hospital admission within 48 hours of the admission time, or as soon as reasonably possible.