PMH HealthBeat

Why is My Emergency Department Bill So High?

Sometimes it’s hard to know whether you should go to the Emergency Department or see your primary care provider. 

Many trips to the Emergency Department end up being unnecessary and could easily have been handled with an office call to your primary care provider.  Knowing the difference between primary care and emergency care will help you know where to go when the unexpected happens. 

There are also huge differences in medical charges for primary care and emergency care.
A trip to the Emergency Department is going to be a lot more expensive than a trip to your primary care provider.  One reason is in the name – emergency. 

Emergency care requires a fully staffed department with top-of-the-line medical equipment to treat true emergencies like stroke and trauma.  The very nature of emergency care means a higher bill will reach your mailbox.

Primary care providers, like the Rural Health Clinic, are usually your first stop for healthcare for you and your family. 

You should go to your primary care provider for:

Common illnesses – flu, colds, fever, sore throats, headaches, skin irritations

Minor injuries like minor cuts/burns, sprains, minor bone fractures

Physical exams, vaccinations and health screenings.

Emergency care is for serious medical conditions that threaten a person’s life or limb. 

Examples of conditions that require a trip to the Emergency Department include:

Severe chest pain/heart palpitations

Difficulty breathing

Ingestion of objects or poisons

Major/significant trauma or injury


Severe burns

Severe diarrhea

Uncontrollable bleeding/ vomiting blood

Animal bites


A trip to PMH’s Emergency Department will reveal a professional, caring staff whose goal is to get you treated and on your way again as soon as possible. 

The Emergency Department is fully staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week and was designated a Level IV Trauma Center in 2014.

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