What is an urgent health care need?
When a medical problem arises that requires immediate attention, it is often difficult to know if it is truly an emergency, or whether it is simply an urgent medical issue.
What is the difference? Generally, an emergency is a condition that may threaten an individual's life or cause impairment. On the other hand, urgent care can treat medical problems such as respiratory infections, injuries, broken bones and minor burns that, while not emergencies, require care within 24 hours.
Common conditions that are appropriate for Urgent Care:
- Colds and flu
- Coughs, sore throats and earaches
- Vomiting, diarrhea, and stomachaches
- Minor lacerations and wound care
- Minor eye problems and nose bleeds
- Sports injuries
- Asthma and allergies
- Simple fractures, sprains and dislocations
- Urinary tract and gynecological problems
If a medical problem is life-threatening, call 911 immediately, and care will be provided at the nearest emergency room (ER). However, ER visits should be reserved for true emergencies, such as life-threatening accidents or chest pain. A visit to the ER without an actual emergency can be costly and inefficient, and detract medical care from individuals who truly need emergency care.
- Men's Health - Annual physicals, ED evaluation and treatment, prostate checks, laboratory screening
- Women's Health - Annual physicals, contraceptives, Pap Smears, laboratory screening, referral for mammogram
- Pediatric Medicine - Annual Physicals, School Physicals, Sports Physicals
- Immunizations - Flu and Tetanus Shots, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Measles, Mumps and Travel
- Health Screenings - Blood Pressure Screening, Cholesterol Screening, Diabetes Screening, Ulcer Screening and Vision Screening
- Physical Therapy locations - Salinas, Hollister, Watsonville.
What happens when I arrive?
Upon arriving at the Pinnacle HealthCare center, you will sign in with the registration clerk so we may obtain the information necessary to treat you. As soon as an examination room is available, you will be called by a medical assistant, who will take your vital signs and a brief medical history. A physician or physician assistant will then see you as soon as possible. Please keep in mind that our role as an urgent care may require the triage of patients and someone with an emergent issue may delay your care. We will see you as soon as possible, your health and medical needs are our primary mission.
How long will it take?
Patients are triaged shortly after arrival in the Urgent Care Center. This means that their medical conditions are assessed, and critically ill or injured patients are seen first. This is likely the case if you see Urgent Care patients who registered after you being called first. Generally, all other Urgent Care patients are seen in order of arrival. Also, we do share a reception area and waiting room with other departments; you may see patients called for scheduled appointments in other departments or visits that do not require the services of a physician.
We see patients without requiring an appointment. This makes prediction of patient flow and wait times difficult and uncertain, and we ask for your patience if you are here at a time when many other patients have also dropped in to be seen. Rest assured, we recognize that your time is valuable and are working as hard and as fast as we can to take care of you quickly.
What happens next?
You may be treated and discharged shortly after being examined by an Urgent Care provider. Please "check out," with the reception desk.
If your problem is more complicated, you may be asked to wait for results from laboratory tests, X-rays, or consultations. Blood tests generally take at least an hour to be run. X-rays are reviewed right away by your Urgent Care physician, and again by our radiologists within 2 days, when any new findings would be reported to you.
Medical treatments may be provided in the Urgent Care Center, such as breathing treatments, or intravenous fluids and medications. This can take minutes to hours.
- While our hours do extend to 7 p.m. in most centers, if you believe your illness is serious please visit us earlier in the day, so that we can take full advantage of our X-ray and laboratory departments on your behalf before they close.
- Please bring in all your medication bottles to show us, or a list of the names and doses of your medications.
- If you have a stomach problem, or know you may need surgery, please refrain from eating and drinking.
- If you have questions about what will happen next, or reasons for delays, please ask any of our receptionists or nurses to help.
- Feel free to use your cell phones in our exam rooms after the nurse and doctor have left the room.
- We welcome up to two visitors per exam room.
We Give Back to the Community We Serve
Specialty Physicians to Handle Most Issues In-House
Privately Owned by Practicing Partners
Highly Experienced Physicians & Seasoned Team
Services Available in English & Spanish
Same Day Appointments & Walk-Ins Available