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Primary Care, Urgent Care or ER? Know Where to Go

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When illness or injury strike, patients often have to make the important decision on where they should go to get the care they need. 

Your primary care physician knows you best. You’ve met them before and they’re familiar with your medical history. But can they get you in right away? And are they best suited to care for your needs if you’re experiencing an emergency? 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you decide where to go. 

Step 1: Assess your symptoms. 

If you’re experiencing emergency symptoms like chest pain or pressure, trouble breathing, severe bleeding or burns, seizure, or poisoning, you need to go to an emergency room right away. Call 9-1-1 immediately or go to your nearest ER. 

Step 2: If you’re not experiencing an emergency, call your primary care doctor. 

Your primary care physician, or PCP, knows your medical history. Call your doctor first to see if you can be seen in-person or virtually during a timeframe that feels comfortable to you. If your doctor is unable to see you for a same-day appointment that can’t wait, proceed to Step 3. Your primary care doctor is the best person to see you for: 

• Runny nose

• Sore throat

• Migraine

• Sinus pain

• Stomachache

• Allergies

• Bug bites

• Arthritis

• Nausea

• Minor cuts or rash

Step 3: Go to an urgent care clinic. 

Urgent care is a great option for patients who need care right away but don’t require an emergency room visit. Dignity Health Medical Group – Northridge’s Urgent Care accepts walk-ins – and is open on weekends and holidays. They can help patients with: 

• Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea

• Earaches

• UTIs

• STI testing and treatment

• Cuts, abrasions, and broken bones

• Sprains or muscle strains

• Sports-related injuries, concussion screenings

• Sport physicals

Dignity Health Medical Group – Northridge, a service of the Dignity Health Medical Foundation, offers urgent care services and is conveniently located on the Northridge Hospital Medical Center campus. With evening and weekend hours, they support patients with urgent care needs seven days a week. 

Dignity accepts Medicare, Medi-Cal, PPO health plans, Health Care LA IPA HMO members, and Preferred IPA HMO members. 

Find them at:  18460 Roscoe Blvd., Suite. 100 Northridge, California 91325.

They are open Monday through Friday 11 am to 8 pm, Saturdays and Sundays: 9 am to 6 pm.

Walk-ins are welcome. 

For more information call (818) 717-3110.

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