Emergency services

Also known as: Emergency care, Emergency department, Emergency room, ER

If this is an emergency, call 9-1-1.

Hospital emergency rooms (ERs) are set up to focus on medical emergencies. They are not set up to focus on routine health care. If you go to the ER for a problem that is not an emergency: 

  • It will cost a lot more than it would at your doctor's office or a walk-in clinic. A trip to the ER for an earache, for example, may cost three to four times as much as it would at your doctor's office.
  • You will probably spend a lot more time there than you would at a walk-in clinic or doctor's office.
  • You will get care from a doctor who has probably never seen you before. It's always best to get as much of your care as you can from a doctor who knows and understands you.

Is it really an emergency?
Go to the ER if you think you are having a medical emergency. That's what the ER is for. Otherwise, call your doctor's office first, or go to a walk-in clinic. It will save you money and time.


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Ask an Expert: Are You Prepared for an ER Visit?

Answer from Mary Engrav, M.D., an emergency medicine physician from the pediatric emergency room at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland.

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