Urgent care vs. emergency room – make an informed choice

Jan 07, 2020

Sometimes illness and injuries don’t happen during office hours! Before you head to the emergency room with a minor health concern, keep in mind that urgent care centers can treat many health issues with less cost and shorter wait times. 

Urgent care is for minor illness and injury that needs same-day attention. This can be a great option if your regular doctor isn’t available, or if you don’t have a regular doctor. Urgent care offers convenient evening and weekend hours and typically has lab and x-ray services on site.

Urgent care centers can treat cold and flu symptoms, ear or sinus pain, cuts and scrapes, sprains, and urinary tract issues. Even broken bones can be evaluated and treated at urgent care!

Trips to the emergency room should be saved for serious, life-threatening situations that need a higher level of care that is provided there. These include difficulty breathing, heart attack/stroke, extremely high fever, severe trauma, uncontrolled bleeding, severe pain, and major burns.

Keep in mind that a trip to the ER can be expensive, even with insurance. If you need to see a doctor but do not need life-saving treatment, urgent care is a safe and economical choice.

Family Care Network has three Urgent Care options in Whatcom and Skagit County:

  • Bellingham – 3130 Squalicum Pkwy.
  • Lynden – 1610 Grover St., Suite D-1
  • Mount Vernon – 2116 E. Section St.

Hours are Monday-Friday, 1pm-9pm and weekends 9am-5pm.

We welcome FCN and non-FCN patients at all locations, and accept most major medical insurance plans.