Where to Go For Care - Primary Care, Urgent Care, or Emergency Department?

Munson Healthcare is your home for safe, outstanding, and compassionate care in northern Michigan. But when you’re sick or injured, where should you go for the timeliest care?

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Primary Care: Your Medical Home

Trust your primary care provider (also known as your family doctor, internist, or pediatrician) as your starting point when you need non-life-threatening care. Many people see their primary care provider for an annual wellness visit. This is typically when your primary care provider (PCP) will check your vital signs, listen to your heart and lungs, and give recommendations for lab work and screenings based on your age and health history. But did you know your primary care provider can treat you when you’re not feeling well too?

The advantages of making your PCP your first stop for non-emergency care:

  • Potential cost savings due to lower co-pays
  • Same-day appointments and on-call weekend hours
  • The comfort of working with your chosen PCP
  • Virtual visits that allow you to see your PCP right from home – no travel needed
Illnesses & Injuries Your PCP Can Treat
  • COVID-19 testing
  • Allergies and minor allergic reactions
  • Asthma
  • Cold and flu symptoms
  • Mild fevers in adults and children
  • Mild to moderate pain or discomfort
  • Minor cuts and burns
  • Sprains, aches, and fractures
  • High cholesterol or blood pressure
  • Help with managing non-life-threatening symptoms from a chronic condition
  • General medical questions and/or concerns
  • Preventative and diagnostic screenings, such as cholesterol tests, breast exams, and prostate exams
  • Help with mental health struggles, like depression or anxiety
  • Well-child visits, back-to-school, and routine check-ups
  • Vaccines and immunizations

 

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Urgent Care: When You Need Non-Life-Threatening Care NOW

When your PCP isn’t available, a Munson Healthcare Walk-in Clinic or Urgent Care is your next stop for troublesome symptoms or injuries that are causing you pain or discomfort – but they’re not life-threatening.

The advantages of visiting an Urgent Care or Walk-in Clinic include:

  • Possible cost savings due to lower co-pays
  • Evening and weekend availability
  • Virtual Visits (depending on your condition) so you don’t have to travel
  • The potential for shorter wait times
Illnesses & Injuries for Urgent Care/Walk-In Care
  • COVID-19 testing for people experiencing moderate COVID-19 symptoms 
  • Allergic reaction with widespread swelling/itching
  • Asthma not responding to usual medication
  • Breathing difficulties, such as mild to moderate asthma
  • Cuts that don’t involve much blood, but may need stitches
  • Earache
  • Eye irritation or redness
  • Fever ≥ 101° F (38.3° C) or lasting two or more days
  • Flu symptoms
  • Minor broken bones and fractures in fingers or toes
  • Minor accidents and falls
  • Moderate back problems
  • Moderate to severe sore throat or cough
  • Significant or increasing pain, especially with fever
  • Sprains and strains
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, or dehydration

 

Find an Urgent Care/Walk-in Clinic    Virtual Urgent Care Services

 

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Emergency Department Visits: Immediate, life-threatening events

Certain injuries and illnesses require immediate treatment from our emergency medicine specialists and specialty-trained teams of physician assistants, nurses, and technicians.

When to Visit the ED or Call 9-1-1
  • Change in mental status (such as confusion)
  • Chest pain and/or left arm pain (heart attack warning signs)
  • Coughing blood or vomiting blood
  • Evaluation of assault, physical or sexual abuse, or child abuse
  • If you’re pregnant and have vaginal bleeding or pelvic/abdominal pain
  • Injured neck or spinal cord, severe head injury
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Major injuries, such as bones poking through skin
  • Possible drug overdose or poisoning
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing/swallowing
  • Seizures
  • Severe allergic reaction
  • Severe burns
  • Serious cuts (cuts that won't stop bleeding or wounds that won't close) and infections
  • Severe or persistent vomiting, diarrhea, or dehydration
  • Severe pain
  • Stroke symptoms, including slurred speech, lost or double vision, and others
  • Sudden dizziness, weakness, or changes in vision
  • Thoughts of suicide or acts of self-harm

Always call 9-1-1 in the event of a severe, life-threatening emergency. If you think you’re having a heart attack or a stroke, do not drive yourself to the Emergency Department or travel by car to the hospital. Minutes matter. Life-saving care can begin in an ambulance, and you need care immediately.

emergencies shouldn't stay home