Getting the Care You Need

A guide to help you receive the right care in most appropriate setting

Lisa Mark, MD, General Surgeon, Vice President of Medical Affairs/Chief Medical Officer

Need Care? Know Where to Go.

As the pandemic presses on and the national shortage of health care workers intensifies, it’s more important than ever to understand your health care options to ensure you receive the right level of care in the most appropriate setting.

Health care options for North Country residents often include primary care, urgent care and emergency care so it’s not always obvious where to go for care – or when.  So in the heat of the moment, this guide can help you answer, where do I go?

If you’re still not sure what to do, call your primary care provider. Even when the office is closed, there is always someone on call who can direct you to the care you need.

In case of a life threatening emergency, dial 9-1-1.



  • It’s not urgent and you feel it can wait a day
  • You have a new problem or an old problem flares up
  • You need a prescription refilled
  • When the condition doesn’t appear life threatening, but you can’t wait until the next day or to see your primary care provider.
  • You’re not in extreme pain
  • You have a serious or life-threatening condition 


  • Your provider knows you and your medical history
  • You’re seen by appointment so there is generally less waiting
  • You’ll pay the lowest co-pay
  • Shorter wait times than the ER, as you’re seen in the order you arrive
  • Lower co-pay, costs less than a traditional hospital emergency room visit.
  • Many urgent care clinics also have advanced diagnostic imaging like X-ray machines and lab capabilities to assess your illness or injury onsite.
  • Urgent care providers can prescribe medications
  • Equipped with life-saving equipment and providers trained to treat life-threatening illnesses or injuries.
  • It is always open.
  • You are seen based on how sick or injured you are. The most serious cases jump to the front of the line, even if they arrive later than everyone else. 
    This will increase wait times for others.

Symptoms & Conditions

  • Cough, cold, flu
  • Ear infections and sore throat
  • Minor injuries like sprains, bumps and bruises
  • Rashes
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, COPD, asthma and allergies
  • Immunizations
  • Cold or mild flu symptoms
  • Sore throat
  • Vomiting
  • Fever without a rash
  • Non-life threatening allergic reactions
  • Ear pain
  • Painful urination
  • Diarrhea
  • Sprains and strains
  • Small cuts that may require stitches
  • Dehydration
  • Mild asthma attacks
  • Abdominal pain
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Weakness/numbness on one side
  • Slurred speech
  • Fainting/change in mental state/confusion
  • Serious burns
  • Head or eye injury
  • Broken bones, dislocated joints
  • Fever with a rash
  • Seizures
  • Severe cuts that may require stitches
  • Severe cold or flu symptoms
  • Vaginal bleeding with pregnancy
  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Severe asthma attack
  • Severe allergic reaction
  • Poisoning

to Note

It is recommended to have a primary care provider to monitor your health, schedule regular check-ups and preventative screenings to keep you as healthy as possible.

Most Urgent Care Centers are equipped to handle medical problems needing same-day attention but are not life-threatening.

If the urgent care provider thinks you need a higher level of care, they will get you to the closest Emergency Room.

Always follow-up with your primary care provider after a visit to the Emergency Room to continue to monitor your health / condition.


Think you may have COVID-19? Unless you are having a medical emergency, there is no need to go to the Emergency Room. If you’re feeling ill and believe you should be seen, please call your primary care provider or visit an urgent care location. Click here to find a testing site near you.