Urgent care or Emergency room in this discussion in Dr. D’s month’s article. This can be a confusing choice, especially here in San Antonio, there are many options of both and it’s important to make a good decision when care is needed.
For patients of HealthTexas Medical Group, we encourage our patients to call us for any medical questions. During the week, we, your primary care physicians, return calls made to our offices after hours. Beginning at 5:00 PM on Friday, an on-call provider takes calls until 7:00 AM on Monday. They have access to your records and can answer your questions and offer advice. This should always be your first call when you have a medical issue at any time.
In the case of an injury or mild to moderate illness, an urgent care center is a great choice if our offices are closed. They are open extended hours and most will accept the insurances that our offices accept. For patients who are part of a Medicare Advantage plan, check with your benefit coordinator or agent to make sure you go to an urgent care center that is contracted with your health plan.
For serious conditions, an emergency room is the appropriate place to seek care. Chest pain, shortness of breath, altered mental status, bleeding from the rectum or vomiting blood are examples of illnesses appropriate for an emergency room. Sometimes chest pain doesn’t happen as a result of a heart problem. That is why it is important to call your primary care physician first to help decide.
In San Antonio, we have more options for emergency care than any city in the state besides Houston. Nineteen free-standing emergency centers have been licensed in San Antonio. Drive around, no doubt you’ll notice emergency rooms on almost every corner in parts of town. Care in these centers, while appropriate at the right time, is extremely expensive and can take your primary care physician out of the care equation. When a true emergency occurs, go to the nearest hospital. If you have a choice, we recommend patients go to Baptist Medical Center downtown or St. Luke’s Baptist Hospital in the Medical Center.
In summary, when you need care after our regular office hours, please call the office anyway. You will speak with a member of our answering service staff and your HealthTexas provider will call you back. As always, we strive to provide the best care possible, whether with us an urgent care or emergency room, HealthTexas wants the best for its patients.
I’d also like to welcome Physician Assistant Dora Garcia to the Holy Cross family. PA Garcia comes to us with years of experience and has already become a valuable part of our team. She increases our available appointments and makes it easier for us to provide you the best care possible.