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When do I go to primary care versus urgent care versus the emergency room?

I enjoy serving as a primary care physician and guiding my patients throughout their health care journey.  When it comes to unexpected situations, I want to make sure I empower my patients with knowledge, so they know how to seek the care they need.

  • Primary Care – This is for annual exams, follow-up visits, non-emergent care and same-day sick appointments. I am here to partner with my patients, and I enjoy serving as the starting point for any health care matters and serving as a guide through the Hoag network.
  • Urgent Care – The urgent care is well suited for unexpected illnesses and injuries, and they are open in the evenings and during the weekends. The urgent care team is a great resource to handle non-emergent issues.
  • Emergency Room – The emergency room should be used when you are experiencing life-threatening or disabling events such as a heart attack, stroke, head trauma, severe chest pains, severe abdominal pain, obvious broken bones or loss of function to your limbs.
  • Nurse Advice Line – If you are in doubt, many patients have access to a 24×7 nurse triage line with skilled experts who can provide advice.

At the end of the day, it is always best to seek care when you have a medical concern.

If a patient visits the Hoag ER or Hoag Urgent Care, I always recommend they follow-up with their PCP.  If their PCP is with Hoag Medical Group, the doctor will also have access to their medical record.

By Samuel Herman, M.D.