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ER, Urgent Care, or Primary Care? How to decide.

You’re sick or hurt — and you’re wondering where to go for treatment. With Baker County Medical Services in Macclenny, FL, you have three choices:

The service you choose will have a big impact on your time, cost, and treatment. So, it’s important to know which one you should use for each type of situation.

Dopson Family Medical Center: Your Doctor Will See You

Using the Dopson Family Medical Center means that you’ll receive personalized care from a doctor who knows your medical history. The staff of primary and specialty physicians provides care for routine checkups, minor health problems, care for chronic conditions, and minor injuries and illnesses.

You don’t have to wait to get an appointment at Dopson. You can make a same-day appointment Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm. And, you’ll have a shorter wait time than if you went to an emergency room or urgent care clinic.

Call 904-259-7815 to schedule your same-day appointment.

Rural Health Clinic: Fast Care and Lower Cost

Baker Rural Health Clinic offers care for illnesses, sports injuries, and other health problems at a discounted rate. This is a great option when the Dopson Family Medical Center isn’t open, or you need to see a healthcare provider right away.

When your problem isn’t life-threatening, the clinic’s health care team can treat you without the cost and wait time of a busy emergency room.

The cost of care at the Rural Health Clinic is based on income if you’re uninsured, with a range of $10-$50. People who have insurance with high copays will also pay just $50.

The Clinic accepts both appointments and walk-ins, depending on your needs. And, it’s open until 7 pm on weekdays and Saturday mornings until noon to help you get care when you need it.

The ER: When It’s Serious and Can’t Wait

The name “emergency room” sums up its purpose: it’s for emergencies. But deciding what’s an emergency can be the tricky part. Using the ER when you don’t really need it can be costly — both in time and money.

A hospital emergency room is staffed with physicians and nurses who are prepared to deal with life-threatening problems 24 hours a day. These are problems that simply can’t wait a few hours or more to be treated or that may be extremely dangerous to someone’s health or life.

In the ER, people with life-threatening problems are seen first. This means if you don’t have a serious injury or illness, you could be waiting for a long time. The ER also costs considerably more than the rural health clinic or the Family Care Clinic. For these reasons, it makes sense to use the ER only when it’s absolutely necessary.

The following are signs that you should go to the ER or call 9-1-1:

  • Choking
  • Signs of a heart attack, such as chest, arm, or jaw pain
  • Signs of a stroke, such as numbness, weakness, drooping on one side of the face, trouble speaking, sudden vision problems, and confusion
  • Trouble breathing or stopped breathing
  • Head injury with passing out, fainting, or confusion
  • Severe allergic reaction with trouble breathing, swelling, hives
  • Neck or spine injuries, especially if there is loss of feeling or inability to move
  • Severe burn or injury
  • Poisoning or overdose of medicine, alcohol, or drugs
  • Seizures
  • Heavy bleeding

Not every emergency is listed here, so you’ll need to use your judgment when a problem arises. But, knowing which conditions can be treated at the primary care clinic or rural health clinic can help you decide.