Free Consultations *
TOLL FREE: 866-679-2513
KEW GARDENS: 718-577-2573
WOODBURY: 516-681-0250
We continue to be here for you as we monitor the current COVID-19 health crisis. Futterman, Sirotkin & Seinfeld remains open. Our staff is working remotely and the firm will continue to be functional and operational.

You can reach all of us via email or leave a message on our phone extensions and we will return the calls as quickly as possible.
We are concerned about the health and safety of all of our clients and wish all of you the best during these difficult times.

Over 60 Years In Queens County
Estate /

Urgent care centers vs. emergency rooms

| Dec 20, 2017 | Failure to Diagnose

Many in New York City may have difficulty differentiating “urgent” from “emergency.” Both words denote a heightened level of need and severity. Thus, when one hears the terms “emergency room” and “urgent care center,” he or she may believe they represent the same type of facility. Yet they do not. According to Becker’s ASC Review, there are currently 7,100 urgent care centers in the U.S., compared to 5,025 emergency rooms. The most obvious difference between the two is location. Urgent care centers are usually found in freestanding clinics, while ER’s are located in hospitals (leading many to refer to them as “emergency departments”). A bigger distinction, however, is the type of care each offers. 

Urgent care centers can handle non-life threatening cases requiring minimal intervention and diagnostic testing. Cigna Health offers the following list of general conditions and problems as those commonly seen in such locations: 

  • Nagging cold and flu
  • Fever
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Certain types of bone fractures
  • Minor cuts and burns

Emergency departments, on the other hand, must be equipped to handle a wide scope of cases as well as to provide trauma care. As such, they require more staffing resources, easy access to imaging equipment and laboratory testing, and near immediate availability of surgical intervention. ED’s are more closely associated with the term “trauma center,” as that phrase indicates the level of trauma care a facility can offer. If it cannot accommodate a case, the ED staff will stabilize the patient and arrange immediate transfer to another facility. 

Both ED’s and urgent care centers have factors that can contribute to diagnostic errors. Seeing higher acuity cases may prompt ED doctors to rush their decision-making, while the lack of extensive resources at an urgent care center limits the conditions that their providers can definitively offer as diagnoses. 


Need Answers? Contact Us for a Free Consultation