Urgent vs. Emergency Healthcare

0716_Getting Care_web imageHas there ever been a time when you were sick or hurt, but you didn't know if you really needed to see a doctor? Who do you call? What do you do?

In situations like this, many people go to urgent care or the emergency room because they don't know what options they have. You can save money-and get fast, professional medical advice-by knowing when to call a nurse line, go to urgent care, or go to the emergency room.

Use the following information as your resource guide, and use the How to Plan Ahead tips to help you prepare.

Nurse Line: Not Urgent or Life-threatening

You know something is wrong, but it's not urgent. Nurse lines are a great go-to resource to help you figure out what's wrong and whether or not you need to seek medical care.

  • You want to talk to a medical professional, but you don't think you need a doctor visit, or it's after your doctor's regular clinic hours.
  • You have an illness or injury and you need advice, but you don't need (or don't know if you need) treatment.

Urgent Care: Urgent, but Not Life-threatening

You have an illness that needs treatment-such as flu, bronchitis, strep throat, or ear infections-and your primary care doctor is unavailable to see you right away.

  • You have an injury that needs treatment-such as sports injuries, minor burns, cuts, and dislocations-and your primary care doctor is unavailable to see you right away.

Emergency Room: Urgent and Life-threatening

  • You have a serious medical problem, such as inability to breathe, severe head injuries, seizures, severe burns, ingesting poisonous substance, heavy bleeding, and other life-threatening problems.

How to Plan Ahead

  • Make an emergency phone list. The list should include a nurse line, local urgent care centers, and other relevant emergency numbers. Keep this list on your fridge and in your mobile phone. The 24-Hour NurseLine for PacificSource members is (855) 834-6150.
  • Research local urgent care centers. Find out what health conditions they treat, if they take walk-ins, what the clinic hours are, and if they accept your insurance plan.
  • Talk to your family and emergency contact. For emergency plans to work, everyone needs to know what the plan actually is. Take the time to talk to your family members and emergency contact person to make sure everyone knows what to do and who to call.
  • Work with your primary care doctor and clinic. Find out if your doctor is available to take same-day walk-ins, or after-hours options. The more your doctor is involved in all health and medical situations, the better care he or she can provide you.  

Free Online Tools and Resources

As a PacificSource member, you can access CaféWell, an online health engagement portal. To get started, go to PacificSource.com, log into InTouch, and then click on the CaféWell button.

Visit CaféWell to:

  • Complete the health assessment to identify your potential health risks.
  • Get your health and wellness questions answered by an expert health coach.
  • Connect with family, friends, and others with similar health goals.
  • Access helpful tips and articles on health and wellness.

Questions about Your Benefits? Contact Us

If you have questions about your coverage, a claim, or any benefit or service, or to view your explanation of benefits online, please visit PacificSource.com and log in to InTouch for Members to access information. You're also welcome to contact our Customer Service team:

  • Email: cs@pacificsource.com
  • Phone:
    Idaho: 208.333.1596 or 800.688.5008
    Montana: 406.442.6589 or 877.590.1596
    Oregon: 541.684.5582 or 888.977.9299
    En Español: 541.684.5456 or 800.624.6052, ext. 1009


InTouch for Members

Last updated 2/10/2016