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Virtual Care, Convenient Care or Emergency Care: How to Choose the Right One


December 21, 2022
December 21, 2022

Know when and where to get the right care with this easy guide.

Injuries or illnesses can happen quickly. Waking up with a sore throat or tripping when walking the dog happens when we are least expecting it. It is always stressful to figure out where to go, especially if the injury is too severe for your regular primary care physician or your illness happens during the weekend or evening.

Understanding the differences between virtual care, convenient care or emergency care is important to get the right type of care. Not all injuries and illnesses require the emergency room. You can save time and money by knowing what each option means and which one you need in any given situation.

Virtual Care

A virtual care visit is an online appointment with a doctor or nurse practitioner for minor illnesses or injuries. With virtual care, you will have a video visit with the provider, who can make a diagnosis and prescribe a treatment plan at the same cost as a primary care office co-pay. With BJC Virtual Care, you can receive same-day care from the comfort of home. Virtual care is one of the most flexible ways to receive treatment and/or medications for common conditions.

Schedule Appointment

KEY FEATURES:

  • Easy online scheduling
  • Short wait times
  • Available to existing and new patients ages 12 and older
  • Open 7 a.m.-7 p.m., seven days a week, including all holidays
  • Insurance is not required but can be applied. Co-pay is the same as a primary care visit.

To schedule a virtual care visit or learn more, click here.

Choose virtual care for injuries and illnesses such as cold and flu, sinus and allergies, skin rashes, COVID symptoms, women’s health, and pain.

  • Cold and flu: sneezing, aches, cough, store throat, strep throat
  • Sinus and allergies: itchy eyes, sinus infection, nasal congestion, pinkeye
  • Pain: earaches, headaches, back pain, joint pain
  • COVID: fever and cough
  • Women’s health: urinary tract infections, yeast infections

*Individuals experiencing chest pains, signs of stroke or another potentially life-threatening medical emergency should immediately call 911 or get to the nearest emergency room for prompt care.

Convenient Care

Convenient care clinics provide treatment for minor injuries and illnesses, similar to what you would go to your primary care provider for. Patients have an in-person visit with a nurse practitioner or doctor at a cost similar to a primary care co-pay. Convenient cares are a good option when you are not feeling well, but your illness is not severe enough for the emergency room.

Some convenient care locations have X-rays and labs on site for further testing. Convenient cares are not equipped to stitch wounds or set compound fractures. For severe injuries or illnesses that exceed the capabilities of convenient care, staff may refer the patient to an emergency room.*

Schedule Appointment

KEY FEATURES:

  • Easy online scheduling available
  • Open daily 8 a.m.-8 p.m. (hours may vary by location)
  • Available to existing and new patients ages 12 and older
  • Wait times can vary depending on the volume of walk-in traffic
  • Insurance is not required but can be applied. Co-pay is the same as a primary care visit.
  • BJC has seven convenient care locations in Missouri and Illinois

To schedule a convenient care appointment or learn more, click here.

Choose convenient care for:

  • Cold and flu: Covid testing, sneezing, aches, cough, store throat, strep throat
  • Sinus and allergies: itchy eyes, sinus infection, nasal congestion, pinkeye
  • Pain: earaches, headaches, back pain, joint pain
  • Minor cuts and minor burns
  • Women’s health: urinary tract infections, yeast infections
  • X-ray (varies by location)
  • On-site lab for blood draw
  • Vaccines
  • School or sport physicals

*Individuals experiencing chest pains, signs of stroke or another potentially life-threatening medical emergency should immediately call 911 or get to the nearest emergency room for prompt care.

Emergency Care

An emergency room (ER) provides around-the-clock care for serious or life-threatening medical emergencies in which prompt care is critical. Examples may include suspected heart attack or stroke, traumatic injury, or severe allergic reactions that present a serious health threat.

To hold your place in line and find emergency care near you, click here.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Emergency care should be reserved for serious medical situations. Care is prioritized by medical necessity, such as severity of symptoms.
  • You may your hold place in line online but wait times can be long and vary depending on the number and severity of emergencies in the queue.
  • Open 24/7 to all ages
  • Co-pays for ER visits are much higher than primary, virtual or convenient care, even with insurance.

Choose emergency care for:

  • trouble breathing
  • chest pain
  • severe allergic reactions
  • severe pain
  • serious injury
  • sudden vision impairment
  • broken bones visible through the skin
  • moderate to severe burns
  • fainting
  • poisoning
  • rapid heartbeat
  • seizures or convulsions
  • fever in infants
  • pregnancy-related problems

In cases of sudden, serious illness or injury, time is of the essence. If you or a loved one experiences a life-threatening medical emergency and cannot safely get to an ER, do not hesitate to call 911.
 

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