Urgent Care vs. Primary Care

Pediatric Urgent Care of Northern Colorado is here when your child needs treatment, but it’s important to retain your primary care provider. In fact, knowing when to use urgent care vs. primary care is an important part of navigating the healthcare system. Urgent care should only be used when you can’t wait to see your child’s regular pediatrician.

Think of urgent care as your back-up plan for when you can’t see your primary care physician – weekends and after-hours visits, primarily – or when you need immediate care that isn’t so life-threatening you require immediate treatment at an emergency room. Using an urgent care facility such as PUCNC for everyday health problems such as the sniffles isn’t recommended for a variety of reasons:

  • Relationships: You’ve built a relationship with your pediatrician, and he or she knows your child’s medical history, personal history and personality best. Leveraging this relationship is the basis of quality care.
  • Wait Times: Your ill child will receive care faster than at an emergency room, but like an emergency room, urgent care facilities are set up to provide treatment on a triage basis. That means children with minor maladies like small fevers and colds may not receive treatment until those with more significant problems – broken bones, severe asthma – receive treatment first.
  • Price: Urgent care was designed to be more affordable than emergency-room treatment. It is. A regular office visit will always be more affordable than a trip to urgent care, however, so save money on copay charges.

No parent wants to postpone medical care until the next morning, but in many cases it’s the best choice. A non-urgent trip to urgent care isn’t going to help your child get over a common cold or a stomach bug much faster than a trip in the morning. Save urgent care for broken bones, high fevers, severe gastrointestinal disorders and asthma attacks.