Know Where to Go This Christmas and New Years: Urgent Care or ER?

We see a spike in visitors over Christmas and New Years for some very typical or standard ailments that are seemingly related to the season and all it brings. If you or anyone you are with experiences any health issues, it's vital that you know where you can go, who is open, and which place is proper for you to visit. We have hours, addresses, and contact information of every Emergency Room and Urgent Care Clinic in the Metro Area.

Below this contact information are some helpful tips if someone is choking, has a deep cut, burns, food poisoning, or experiencing heart issues.

Urgent Care Locations in Denver-Boulder Metro

Provider Name Phone Address Hours Holiday Hours
Rocky Mountain Urgent Care - Aurora (303) 695-1338 13650 E Mississippi Ave, Aurora, CO 80012  Open Mon - Sun 8am - 9pm

Dec. 24th - 8am-9 pm
Dec. 25th - Closed
Dec. 31st - 8am-9 pm
Jan. 1st - 8am-9 pm
Rocky Mountain Urgent Care - Westminster (303) 429-9311 6080 W 92nd Ave, Westminster, CO 80031  Open Mon - Fri 8am - 8pm, Sat & Sun 8am - 6pm Dec. 24th - 8am-4 pm
Dec. 25th - Closed
Dec. 31st - 8am-6 pm
Jan. 1st - 8am-8pm
Rocky Mountain Urgent Care - Boulder (303) 499-4800 4800 Baseline Rd D106, Boulder, CO 80303  Open Mon - Fri 8am - 7pm, Sat & Sun 9am - 4pm Dec. 24th - 9am-4 pm
Dec. 25th - Closed
Dec. 31st - 9am-4 pm
Jan. 1st - 8am-7 pm
Rocky Mountain Urgent Care - Lakewood (303) 986-9610 605 Parfet St #103, Lakewood, CO 80215  Open Mon - Fri 8am - 8pm, Sat & Sun 8am - 6pm Black Friday: 8am-5pm
Christmas Eve: Closed
Christmas: Closed
New Years Eve: Closed
New Years: 8am-8pm
Rocky Mountain Urgent Care - Englewood (720) 974-7464 730 W Hampden Ave #200, Englewood, CO 80110  Open Mon - Fri 8am - 7pm Black Friday: Closed
Christmas Eve: Closed
Christmas: Closed
New Years Eve: Closed
New Years: Closed
Rocky Mountain Urgent Care - Centennial/Smoky Hill (303) 693-2000 20270 E Smoky Hill Rd, Centennial, CO 80015  Open Mon - Fri 8am - 8pm, Sat & Sun 10am - 6pm Dec. 24th - 10 am-4pm
Dec. 25th - Closed
Dec. 31st - 10 am-4 pm
Jan. 1st - 10 am-6 pm
American Family Care Urgent Care - Denver East  (303) 639-1000 1295 Colorado Blvd. Denver, CO 80206 Open Mon - Fri 8am – 8pm, Sat & Sun 8am – 6pm  
American Family Care Urgent Care - Cherry Creek (303) 692-8000 760 S. Colorado Blvd. Denver, CO 80246 Open Mon - Fri 8am – 8pm, Sat & Sun 8am – 6pm  
American Family Care Urgent Care - Denver Highlands (303) 477-6000 3800 Iring St. Denver, CO 80211 Open Mon - Fri 8am – 8pm, Sat & Sun 8am – 6pm Dec 25, 2017: 9am - 5pm,
Dec 31, 2017: 8 am - 8 pm,
Jan 1, 2018: 9 am - 8 pm
American Family Care Urgent Care - Englewood  (303) 761-1699 901 W. Hampden Ave. Englewood, CO 80110 Open Mon - Fri 8am – 8pm, Sat & Sun 8am – 6pm Christmas Day/New Year's Day : 8am - 6pm
American Family Care Urgent Care - Centennial  (303) 816-3811 8006 E Arapahoe Rd. Centennial, CO 80112  Open Mon - Fri 8am – 7pm, Sat & Sun 8am – 5pm  Christmas Eve/Christmas Day/New Year's Eve/New Year's Day : 8am - 4pm
ZipClinic Urgent Care - Denver (303) 455-6345 A, 1 S Broadway #100, Denver, CO 80209 Open Mon - Fri 8am – 7pm, Sat & Sun 8am – 5pm  
ZipClinic Urgent Care - Westminster (303) 645-4770 5165 West 72nd Ave. Westminster, CO 80030 Open Mon - Fri 8am – 7pm, Sat & Sun 8am – 5pm  
ZipClinic Urgent Care - Aurora (303) 223-9863 1250 S. Buckley Rd. N Aurora, CO 80017 Open Mon - Fri 8am – 7pm, Sat & Sun 8am – 5pm  
Denver Health Adult Urgent Care - Pediatric Emergency and Urgent Care (303) 436-6000 777 Bannock Street, Pavilion A, 1st Floor, Denver, CO 80204  Open Mon - Fri 7am – 8pm, Sat & Sun 8am – 7pm Christmas Eve/Christmas Day : 9am - 5pm; New Year's Eve : 8am - 9pm; New Year's Day : 9am - 8pm
Denver Health Adult Urgent Care - Southwest Family Health and Urgent Care (303) 602-0000 1339 S Federal Blvd. Denver, CO 80219  Open Mon - Fri 9am – 8pm, Sat & Sun 9am – 4pm Christmas Day : Closed; New Year's Day : Closed
AfterOurs Urgent Care - Denver Southeast (303) 861-7878 6895 E Hampden Ave, Denver, CO 80224 Open Mon - Sun 8am - 11pm  
AfterOurs Urgent Care - Highlands Ranch (303) 861-7878 101 W Mineral Ave, Unit 105, Littleton, CO 80120 Open Mon - Sun 8am - 11pm  
AfterOurs Urgent Care - Thornton (303) 861-7878 3212 East 104th Ave. Thornton, CO 80233 Open Mon - Sun 8am - 11pm  
AfterOurs Urgent Care - Downtown Denver (303) 861-7878 4500 W 38th Ave #220, Denver, CO 80212 Open Mon - Fri 5pm – 11pm, Sat & Sun 8am – 11pm  
Concentra Urgent Care - Downtown Denver (303) 296-2273 1730 Blake St #100, Denver, CO 80202 Open Mon - Fri 8am – 6pm, Closed Sat & Sun  Christmas Eve :  8am - 3pm;
Christmas Day :  Closed
Concentra Urgent Care - North Denver (303) 292-2273 420 E 58th Avenue Ste. 111, Denver, CO 80216 Open Mon - Fri  7am - 5pm Christmas Eve :  7am - 3pm
Concentra Urgent Care - South Broadway (303) 777-2777 1212 S Broadway Ste. 150, Denver, CO 80210 Open Mon - Fri  7am - 5pm Christmas Eve :  7am - 3pm
Concentra Urgent Care - Stapleton (303) 371-7444 5855 Stapleton Drive North Suite A-130, Denver, CO 80216 Open Mon - Fri  7am - 5pm Christmas Eve :  7am - 3pm
Concentra Urgent Care - Cherry Creek (303) 388-3627 875 South Colorado Blvd. Denver, CO 80246  Open Mon - Fri  8am - 8:00 pm Saturday  8am - 4pm; Sunday  10am - 4pm Christmas Eve :  8am - 2pm;
Christmas Day :  Closed;
New Year's Eve :  8am - 4am
Concentra Urgent Care - Highlands Ranch (303) 346-3627 9330 South University Blvd. Suite 100 & 120, Highlands Ranch, CO 80126 Open Mon - Fri  8am - 6pm Saturday  8am - 4pm; Sunday  10am - 4pm Christmas Eve :  8am - 2pm;
Christmas Day :  Closed;
New Year's Eve :  8am - 4pm
Concentra Urgent Care - Lakewood Simms (303) 239-6060 11185 W. 6th Ave. Ste. 100, Lakewood, CO 80215 Open Mon - Fri  8am - 6pm Christmas Eve :  8am - 3pm;
Christmas Day :  Closed
Concentra Urgent Care - Littleton (303) 798-1009 20 W Dry Creek Circle Suite 100, Littleton, CO 80120 Open Mon - Fri  8am - 5pm Christmas Eve :  8am - 3pm;
Christmas Day :  Closed
Concentra Urgent Care - Thornton Parkway (720) 872-0399 550 East Thornton Parkway  Suite 110, Thornton, CO 80229 Open Mon - Fri  8am - 5pm  
Concentra Urgent Care - Thornton (303) 287-7070 500 E 84th Avenue Ste. B14, Thornton, CO 80229 Open Mon - Fri  8am - 5pm Christmas Eve :  8am - 3pm
Concentra Urgent Care - Aurora North (303) 340-3053 15235 East 38th Ave. Aurora, CO 80011 Open Mon - Fri  8am - 8:00 pm Saturday  8am - 4pm Christmas Eve :  8am - 2pm;
Christmas Day :  Closed;
New Year's Eve :  8am - 4pm
Concentra Urgent Care - Aurora Southeast (303) 755-4955 10355 E Iliff Ave. Aurora, CO 80247 Open Mon - Fri  8am - 5pm Christmas Eve :  8am - 3pm;
Christmas Day :  Closed
Concentra Urgent Care - Aurora Chambers (720) 859-6139 3449 Chambers Road Suite B, Aurora, CO 80011 Open Mon - Fri  8am - 5pm  
Concentra Urgent Care - Boulder (303) 541-9090 3300 28th St. Boulder, CO 80301 Open Mon - Fri  8am - 6pm Christmas Eve :  8am - 3pm;
Christmas Day :  Closed
Concentra Urgent Care - Tech Center (303) 792-7368 11877 E. Arapahoe Rd. Centennial, CO 80112 Open Mon - Fri  8am - 6pm Christmas Eve :  8am - 3pm
Children's Hospital Colorado - Uptown Denver (720) 777-1360 1830 Franklin Street, Denver, CO 80218 Open Mon - Sun 7am – midnight  
Children's Hospital Colorado - Wheat Ridge (720) 777-1370 3455 Lutheran Parkway Suite 230, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033 Open Mon - Fri 5pm – midnight, Sat & Sun noon - midnight Holidays noon-midnight
Children's Hospital Colorado - Broomfield (720) 777-1340 469 West State Highway 7, Broomfield, CO 80023 Open 24 Hours  
Children's Hospital Colorado - Highlands Ranch (720) 478-1234 1811 Plaza Drive, Highlands Ranch, CO 80129 Open Mon - Sun 7am – midnight  
Green Valley Ranch Medical Clinic (303) 344-8700 4809 Argonne Street, Suite 100, Denver, CO 80249 Open Mon - Fri 8am - 8pm, Sat & Sun 10am - 4pm  Christmas Day : Closed
UCHealth Urgent Care - Cherry Creek (303) 372-4000 311 Steele St, Denver, CO 80206 Open Mon - Sun 8am - 8pm Christmas Eve : 8am-4pm; Christmas Day : Closed; New Year's Eve : 8am-6pm; New Year's Day : 8am-6pm
UCHealth Urgent Care - Thornton (303) 252-2960 13631 Colorado Blvd, Thornton, CO 80602 Open Mon - Sun 8am - 8pm Christmas Eve : 8am-4pm; Christmas Day : Closed; New Year's Eve : 8am-6pm; New Year's Day : 8am-6pm
Advanced Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine - Northglenn (303) 558-0502 1050 W 104th Ave, Northglenn, CO 80234 Open Mon - Sun 8am - 8pm  
Advanced Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine - Brighton (303) 659-9700 2801 Purcell St, Brighton, CO 80601 Open Mon - Sun 8am - 8pm  
Advanced Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine - Fort Lupton (303) 558-0501 112 S Denver Ave, Fort Lupton, CO 80621 Open Mon - Fri 8am - 5pm  
NextCare Urgent Care - Arvada (303) 463-5941 7380 West 52nd Avenue Suite I, Arvada, CO 80002 Open Mon - Fri 8am - 8pm, Sat & Sun 9am - 4pm   
NextCare Urgent Care - Thornton (303) 756-3499 9720 Grant St, Thornton, CO 80229 Open Mon - Fri 8am - 8pm, Sat & Sun 9am - 4pm   
NextCare Urgent Care - Golden (720) 506-1332 17121 S Golden Rd c150, Golden, CO 80401 Open Mon - Fri 8am - 8pm, Sat & Sun 9am - 4pm   
NextCare Urgent Care - Broomfield (303) 439-4544 4590 West 121st Avenue, Broomfield, CO 80020 Open Mon - Fri 8am - 8pm, Sat & Sun 9am - 4pm   
NextCare Urgent Care - Centennial (303) 766-1006 16728 East Smoky Hill Road #10D, Centennial, CO 80015 Open Mon - Fri 8am -12 pm & 1pm - 5pm  
NextCare Urgent Care - Aurora (303) 617-1604 18890 East Hampden Avenue, Aurora, CO 80013 Open Mon - Fri 8am - 8pm, Sat & Sun 9am - 4pm   
OnPoint Urgent Care - Lone Tree (720) 255-2350 9695 S Yosemite St, Lone Tree, CO 80124 Open Mon - Fri 8am - 9:30pm, Sat & Sun 8am - 7:30pm  Christmas Day : Closed; New Year's Day : Closed
OnPoint Urgent Care - Aurora (303) 330-0410 24300 E Smoky Hill Rd, Aurora, CO 80016 Open Mon - Fri 8am - 9:30pm, Sat & Sun 8am - 7:30pm  Christmas Day : Closed; New Year's Day : Closed
OnPoint Urgent Care - Highlands Ranch (303) 330-0271 9137 S Ridgeline Blvd Suite 100, Highlands Ranch, CO 80129 Open Mon - Fri 8am - 9:30pm, Sat & Sun 8am - 7:30pm  Christmas Day : Closed; New Year's Day : Closed
San Antonio Medical Center (303) 936-1760 1701 S Federal Blvd, Denver, CO 80219 Open Mon - Sat 9am - 7pm, Closed Sunday  
Urgent Care of Colorado (303) 904-2600 9116 W Bowles Ave # 3A, Littleton, CO 80123 Open Mon - Fri 8am - 8pm, Sat & Sun 9am - 5pm  Holidays 9am - 5pm (Closed Christmas)
CareNow Urgent Care - Stapleton (720) 458-6825 3001 Havana St, Denver, CO 80238 Open Mon - Sat 8am - 8pm, Sun 8am - 5pm  
CareNow Urgent Care - Greenwood Village (720) 446-5890 5990 S University Blvd, Greenwood Village, CO 80121 Open Mon - Sat 8am - 8pm, Sun 8am - 5pm  
CareNow Urgent Care - Aurora (720) 446-5893 5620 S. Parker Rd. Aurora, CO 80015 Open Mon - Sat 8am - 8pm, Sun 8am - 5pm  
CareNow Urgent Care - Highlands Ranch (720) 446-5891 7120 E. County Line Rd. Highlands Ranch, CO 80126 Open Mon - Sat 8am - 8pm, Sun 8am - 5pm  
CareNow Urgent Care - Parker (720) 588-4000 11339 S Pikes Peak Dr. Parker, CO 80138 Open Mon - Sat 8am - 8pm, Sun 8am - 5pm  
Castle Pines Urgent Care and Family Practice (303) 814-0505 7280 Lagae Rd, Castle Pines, CO 80108 Open Mon - Fri 8am - 7:30pm, Sat & Sun 8am - 5:30pm   
Boulder Community Health Urgent Care (303) 415-5199 6685 Gunpark Dr #102, Boulder, CO 80301 Open Mon - Sun 7am - 9pm  
Boulder Bone and Joint: Orthopedic Urgent Care (720) 577-2663 4820 Riverbend Rd, Boulder, CO 80301 Open Weds - Fri 3pm - 9pm, Sat & Sun 12pm - 9pm  
Boulder Medical Center at Broadway (303) 440-3000 2750 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80304 Open Mon - Fri 8:30am - 5pm, Sat 9am - 12pm. Closed Sunday 5:30pm   

Emergency Room Locations in Denver-Boulder Metro

Provider Name Phone Address Hours
Denver Health Main Campus (303) 436-6000 777 Bannock St. Denver, CO 80204 Open 24 Hours
Children's Hospital Colorado (720) 777-1360 1830 Franklin Street, Denver, CO 80218 Open 24 Hours
Children's Hospital Colorado (720) 777-1350 9395 Crown Crest Blvd. Parker, CO 80138 Open 24 Hours
Children's Hospital Colorado (720) 777-1234 13123 East 16th Ave. Aurora, CO 80045 Open 24 Hours
Rose Medical Center Emergency Room (303) 320-2455 4567 E 9th Ave, Denver, CO 80220 Open 24 Hours
Swedish Medical Center (303) 788-5000 501 E Hampden Ave, Englewood, CO 80113 Open 24 Hours
The Medical Center of Aurora (303) 695-2600 1501 S. Potomac Street Open 24 Hours
North Suburban Medical Center (303) 451-7800 9191 Grant St. Thornton, CO 80229 Open 24 Hours
Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center (303) 839-6000 1719 East 19th Ave. Denver, CO 80218 Open 24 Hours
Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children (720) 754-1000 2001 N. High St. Denver, CO 80205 Open 24 Hours
Sky Ridge Medical Center (720) 225-1000 10101 RidgeGate Pkwy. Lone Tree, CO 80124 Open 24 Hours
UCHealth Emergency Care - Arvada 64th Ave (303) 463-7180 15240 W 64th Ave, Arvada, CO 80007 Open 24 Hours
UCHealth Emergency Care - Aurora Mississippi (303) 671-4140 15300 E Mississippi Ave, Aurora, CO 80017 Open 24 Hours
UCHealth Emergency Care - Arvada Ralston (720) 390-6200 9505 Ralston Rd, Arvada, CO 80002 Open 24 Hours
UCHealth Emergency Care - Green Valley Ranch (303) 307-5900 18610 Green Valley Ranch Blvd, Denver, CO 80249 Open 24 Hours
UCHealth Emergency Care - Broomfield 136th Ave (303) 457-7700 875 W 136th Ave, Broomfield, CO 80023 Open 24 Hours
UCHealth Emergency Care - Littleton (720) 922-4120 13351 W Bowles Ave, Littleton, CO 80127 Open 24 Hours
UCHealth Emergency Care - Smoky Hill (303) 400-4280 25551 E Smoky Hill Rd, Aurora, CO 80016 Open 24 Hours
UCHealth Emergency Care - Thornton (303) 255-6940 12020 Colorado Blvd, Thornton, CO 80241 Open 24 Hours
UCHealth Emergency Care - Parker (303) 805-3020 16990 Village Center Dr E, Parker, CO 80134 Open 24 Hours
UCHealth Emergency Care - Commerce City (303) 286-6920 15100 E 104th Ave, Commerce City, CO 80022 Open 24 Hours
UCHealth Emergency Care - Highlands Ranch (303) 470-4060 9475 S University Blvd, Highlands Ranch, CO 80126 Open 24 Hours
UCHealth Emergency Care - Aurora 16th Ave (720) 848-9111 12505 E 16th Ave, Aurora, CO 80045 Open 24 Hours
UCHealth Emergency Care - Broomfield Destination Dr. (303) 460-6000 11820 Destination Dr. Broomfield, CO 80021 Open 24 Hours
UCHealth Emergency Care - Firestone (303) 678-4340 5965 Firestone Blvd, Firestone, CO 80504 Open 24 Hours
UCHealth Emergency Care - Longmont (720) 745-8020 2101 Main Street, Longmont, CO 80501 Open 24 Hours
BCH Community Medical Center (303) 415-4300 1000 W. South Boulder Rd. Lafayette, CO 80026  Open 24 Hours
BCH Foothills Hospital (303) 415-7000 4747 Arapahoe Ave. Boulder, CO 80303  Open 24 Hours
Specialty Urgent Care and Emergency Services
Provider Name Phone Address Hours
Emergency Dental Care (303) 495-3443 7500 E Arapahoe Rd #202, Centennial, CO 80112 Open Mon - Sun 9am - 9pm
Dispatch Health (sends someone to your home) (303) 500-1518    
Care on Location (telemedicine) (720) 778-0005 Thurs-Mon 4pm - 12am  
Doctor at Your Door (720) 418-1705   Open 24 Hours
Denver Pet Urgent Care - Emergency Veterinary Hospital (303) 416-3203 4595 N Harlan St, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033  
Boulder Emergency Pet Clinic (303) 440-7722 1658 30th St, Boulder, CO 80301  
Alpenglow Veterinary Specialty + Emergency Center (303) 443-4569 3640 Walnut Street, Main Unit, Boulder, CO 80301  

How to Manage the Top 5 Health Hazards of the Holiday Season

1. Accidents and Injuries

In terms of cooking for a large group and injuries like cuts, burns, food poisoning, and choking, Christmas is essentially Thanksgiving all over again. The end-of-year holidays, however, add to the list of potential hazards. About 13,000 people get hurt each year hanging lights and other holiday decorations, according to Urgent Care Locations. Between space heaters, candles, and trees, house fires also spike during the holiday season. Then, there’s the stampede of last-minute shoppers, tripping over extension cords, and throwing your back out while carrying luggage.

  • Things You Can Do: Take a minute to review the best practices for the Heimlich and saving a severed finger. Confirm internal cooking temperatures for your holiday meal. Know and follow the safety instructions for holiday decorations. Accept the fact that things get busy during the holidays.

2. Cold and Flu Season

Up to 20 percent of the population can get the flu each year, and this year may be trying to test that limit. More than 200 state residents were hospitalized with the flu just in October and November, a five-year high and more than three times last year’s rate. Find the latest local flu statistics from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment. Anti-viral medications can help reduce the severity of the symptoms in vulnerable populations, but otherwise healthy adults should consider managing their flu symptoms at home.

  • Things You Can Do: The best things you can do are preventative. Wash your hands regularly and review these other steps for preventing the flu. Once infected, it’s important to stay hydrated and manage your symptoms as needed. If a small child has a fever of 104 or higher, it’s time you go to the ER. 

3. Cardiovascular Risk Factors

Sometimes called the Merry Christmas Coronary or the Happy Hanukah Heart Attack, there are a number of specific cardiovascular risk factors that tend to rear their heads during the holidays. Cold temperatures constrict blood vessels and make your blood clot more easily. Combined with holiday stress and physically strenuous activities like snow removal, it’s no wonder that research studies suggest that there’s “an overall increase of 5 percent more heart-related deaths during the holiday season,” and that the most common days to experience a heart attack are Dec. 25th and 26th, followed by Jan. 1st.

  • Things You Can Do: The most immediate thing you can do is to listen to the common wisdom. Stay warm, take it easy, and don’t overeat or drink too much. Hire someone to help with snow removal. And explore ways to improve your increase your heart health throughout the year.

4. Holiday Stress and Mental Health

Even in the best of times, the holidays can be stressful. There’s often a general pressure to make sure that everybody has a good time, which can backfire for the host and their guests. For some, there’s additional stress that comes with traveling or hosting the festivities. The pressure to overeat and then diet or over-exercise can contribute to an eating disorder. New Year’s lingering around the corner doesn’t help at all. Feelings of loneliness can intensify during the holidays to the point that physical symptoms start to manifest in the body.

  • Things You Can Do: Make yourself take short breaks to decompress from social pressures. This break could be a personal distraction, or you could start a meditation practice. Don’t wait till New Year’s to start your new exercise routine. And if the holidays end up really taking a toll on you this year, talk to a mental health professional.

5. Complications from Delayed Care

Between the time-crunch and the budget-crunch that is the holiday season, many people rationalize their way out of a doctor’s visit even when they know they should probably go. While the holidays send people with psychological distress to the doctor, others may avoid health services altogether. It could be fatigue or body pains or speech problems. It could be allergies or indigestion or headaches that are no longer responding to over-the-counter medications. It could be vomiting that won’t stop. It could be a stubborn grandparent who’s in denial about how bad their flu symptoms are.

  • Things You Can Do: Whenever possible, make an appointment with your doctor whenever you suspect something is seriously wrong. Even if you were toughing it out in the beginning, you should take the first opportunity you get to see someone. Unless you have a medical emergency, you can take advantage of urgent care walk-in clinics to get around especially long waits at the ER and the limited availability of your regular doctor during the holiday season.

Emergency Room or Urgent Care?

Make Sure You Know Where to Go. It'll Save You Money.

Without knowing the details of your situation, the best general advice we can give is to trust your instincts and make the best decision you can with the information available. What we can provide is basic guidance for a range of common symptoms and ailments.

Just because a situation doesn’t appear to be life-threatening doesn’t mean you can wait for a regular doctor’s appointment. Whether the problem is a cause for concern or a source of serious discomfort, any number of medical problems can be handled by one of our urgent care centers. 

Emergency Room or Urgent Care?

Ailment Urgent Care Emergency Room
Altered mental status or confusion, including suicidal or homicidal thoughts  
Back pain  
Compound fracture  
Convulsions, seizures or loss of consciousness  
Cuts and abrasions (with controlled bleeding but requiring stitches)  
Deep knife wounds or gunshot wounds  
Dehydration  
Diagnostic services  
Diarrhea
(unless severe and persistent)
 
Dislocated joints  
Ear pain  
EKG (electrocardiogram)  
Eye irritation and redness  
Falls and minor injuries  
Fever in newborn
(less than 3 months old)
 
Fever or flu  
Heart attack (chest pain that lasts longer than two minutes, radiates to arm or jaw, or coupled with difficult breathing, sweating, or vomiting)  
Heavy, uncontrollable bleeding  
Laboratory testing  
Mild to moderate breathing difficulties
(unless coupled with chest pain)
 
Minor broken bones and fractures  
Orthopedic and occupational medicine  
Painful urination  
Physicals  
Poisoning  
Rashes (unless coupled with a fever)  
Serious head, neck or back injury  
Serious problems related to a pregnancy  
Severe abdominal pain  
Severe burns  
Severe fever (104+) or fever with rash  
Sore throat or cough  
Spirometry  
Sprains and strains  
Stroke (sudden numbness or weakness especially one-sided, loss of vision, double vision, slurred speech, or confusion)  
Sudden clumsiness or loss of balance  
Sudden testicular pain and swelling  
Sudden, severe headache  
Urinary tract infections  
Vaccines  
Vomiting
(unless severe and persistent)
 
X-rays  

Important Urgent Care Information

  • It’s next to impossible to come up with a comprehensive list of things that can send you to the ER. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the most common reason for adults to visit the Emergency Room is “Other.” Next to injury (14 percent), abdominal pain (9 percent), chest pain (7 percent), and back/neck problems (6 percent), a whopping 34 percent of visits get lumped into this “Other” category.

  • People are still getting a lot of their healthcare from emergency room visits when they don’t have to, but we’re making progress. According to the CDC, in 2011, only 2 out of 3 people visited the ER due to the “seriousness of the medical problem.” By 2014, more than 7 out of 8 people visited the ER because of a serious medical problem. “Urgent care centers and other on-demand healthcare options in Denver and Boulder are expanding their services to treat more illnesses and injuries, making it easier for patients to access affordable care,” says Greg Meadows, CEO at Rocky Mountain Urgent Care & Family Medicine. “ER-alternatives provide high-quality, affordable care when patients need it most.”

  • Other sources point out that only about “20 percent of ER patients are admitted to the hospital.” While even more people could get the care they need from urgent care rather than the ER, studies show that they do need access to urgent care services. One recent study showed that only 3.3% of ER visits were completely avoidable, meaning that the patient didn’t require “any diagnostic or screening services, procedures or medications, and were discharged home.”

  • Choosing the right health provider can have a huge financial impact. According to the Urgent Care Association of America, the average cost of an urgent care visit is $168, while the average cost of an ER visit is $2,259. It’s also a big time-saver. Ninety-two percent of urgent care visits are seen by a provider within 30 minutes, and 90 percent of urgent care visits are completed in 60 minutes or less. The average wait at an emergency room? 4 hours.

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