When you have an unexpected injury or illness, is it better to go to an urgent care center or the emergency room? It's important to understand your options.
When to go to an Urgent Care Center
Is your life in danger? If not, you don't have to go to the Emergency Room. For a surprising number of illnesses and injuries, it's faster and less expensive to go to an urgent care center. You can get immediate attention for allergies, rash or hives, minor eye injuries, dehydration, urinary symptoms, scrapes or lacerations, sprains or possible fractures, stings and bites, minor burns, or conditions needing X-rays or laboratory tests.
When to go to the Emergency Room
If you have medical event or accident that could cause serious harm or death, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital Emergency Room as quickly as possible. Typical life-threatening situations include chest pain, severe bleeding, difficulty speaking or breathing or some other major trauma. The Emergency Room is not your best choice if you have an injury or illness that a few stitches or a medication could solve.
- Allergies, rash or hives
- Dressing changes
- Minor burns
- Minor eye injuries or irritations
- Muscle aches and pains
- Routine gynecological problems
- Serious cuts and scrapes
- Severe colds, flu, bronchitis or sinus infections
- Sore throat
- Sports injuries
- Sprains and fractures
- Stings and bites
- Testing for common issues, including: strep throat, mononucleosis, pregnancy, glucose and diabetes
- Urinary tract infections
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Workplace injuries
- Physicians specializing in emergency medicine and primary care
- Coordinated follow-up with PCP, and specialists if needed
- Prescriptions for medication if needed
- Testing for such issues as strep throat, pregnancy or diabetes
Do I need an appointment for Urgent Care?
No, you never need an appointment at Circle Health Urgent Care. Patients are seen on a walk-in basis, or you can save time with our advance check-in online at www.circle-health.org/urgentcare.
Do I need a referral?
Some insurance companies may require a referral, so check with your provider if you have questions about your coverage.
What will I have to pay for my visit?
In most cases insurance providers will cover urgent care, but patients will be expected to pay a co-payment or deductible. While we take most insurances, it is always best to check with your insurance provider first.
What types of tests are available on site?
Circle Health Urgent Care has onsite X-ray and laboratory testing for common issues, including: strep throat, mononucleosis, influenza, pregnancy, urinalysis, and blood sugars.
How long will my visit take?
Patients are typically seen within 15-30 minutes of arrival, and visits can take as little as 30 minutes depending on symptoms and diagnosis. Most patients can complete their visit within an hour.
Since urgent care patients can walk-in to be seen at any time, occasionally patients may experience longer than the typical wait times, especially during the peak morning hours of 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m., and early evening hours of 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., or weekends when most primary care offices are closed. For your convenience, we offer advance check-in at www.circle-health.org/urgentcare and make every effort to staff our clinics appropriately to keep wait times to a minimum.
Who will be treating me?
Our care team includes board-certified emergency and family practice physicians, as well as experienced physician assistants and nurse practitioners.
What if I need to see a specialist?
Backed by Lowell General Hospital and Circle Health, our care team ensures proper follow up with your primary care physician, as well as coordinating access to specialists if needed. It's our promise of Complete connected care.
What should I bring with me?
Please bring a form of identification, a list of your medications, and your insurance card. In order for us to be able to verify your insurance coverage, we will need to see and copy your insurance card. If you are unable to bring your card, we will do our best to verify your benefits with your carrier when you arrive. Patients may also elect to pay out of pocket.
Do I have to be a patient of Lowell General Hospital or have a Circle Health physician?
No, we welcome all patients and accept most insurance plans. Please check with your insurance provider about your coverage or co-pay.
Can my children be treated at Circle Health Urgent Care?
Yes, we treat minor illnesses and injury for all age ranges - from infants over two months to adolescents to seniors.
Circle Health Urgent Care is proud to be accredited by the Urgent Care Association of America.