The Family Resource Centers will be closed on Saturday, December 21st to Saturday, December 28th.

Urgent Care

Health problems can come up anytime, such as in the middle of the night or on the weekend.

Where can you go when your primary care doctor's office is closed?

If your condition is life-threatening, call 911 or go to the Emergency Room. If you have something like a sore throat or a minor burn, you may go to an Urgent Care Center or a Retail Clinic.

 

What Is Urgent Care?

When you can't be seen by your primary care doctor, you can go to an Urgent Care Center or a Retail Clinic for a condition that needs to be treated right away but is not life-threatening. The Retail Clinic that L.A. Care works with is MinuteClinic®.

This includes common illnesses such as the flu, or having a low-grade fever or an earache. Urgent care is also for minor injuries such as sprains, back pain, or small cuts and burns.

 

How to Get Urgent Care

In most cases, you can see a health professional at an Urgent Care Center or a Retail Clinic the same day you walk in. 

You do not need to make an appointment, and wait times are not as long as they are in Emergency Rooms. You also do not need to get pre-approval from your primary care doctor to go to an Urgent Care Center or a Retail Clinic. 

For urgent care, always call your primary care doctor first.  If he or she cannot be reached and you need help finding an Urgent Care Center or Retail Clinic, call L.A. Care Member Services at 1.888.4LACARE (1.888.452.2273). Member Services is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays. You can also use our Find a Doctor or Hospital tool to search for care near you. 

 

Deciding Where to Go

A Retail Clinic is for treating conditions that are not life-threatening. There are fewer services available at a Retail Clinic than at an Urgent Care Center.

Below are some of the common conditions treated by each type of care facility to help you choose. Knowing where to go for care can save you a lot of time.

You can always call L.A. Care's Nurse Advice Line at 1.800.249.3619 for help with your health concern. Tell the nurse your symptoms, and he or she can help you choose the best place for you to go for care.

The Nurse Advice Line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can help you in your language.

Urgent Care Center

An Urgent Care Center provides care for conditions that are not life-threatening. Examples include:

  • A common illness like the flu
  • Minor fever or headache
  • Painful sore throat
  • Earache or sinus pain
  • Minor injuries like a sprained ankle
  • Back pain
  • Cuts or small wounds
  • Small burns
  • Rash or minor allergic reactions
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Urinary tract infections​

 

Go to an Urgent Care Center when:

  • Your primary care doctor's office is closed or he/she is not available.
  • You need care for a condition that is not life-threatening, but needs treatment sooner rather than later. 
Retail Clinic

A Retail Clinic is for treating conditions that are not life-threatening. There are fewer services available at a Retail Clinic than at an Urgent Care Center.

Retail Clinics, such as MinuteClinic®, offer the option to view wait times and hold a same-day place in line. These walk-in clinics are staffed by nurse practitioners who can diagnose, treat and write prescriptions for minor illnesses, injuries and skin conditions. Examples include:

  • Cough and cold
  • Infections of the ear, nose or throat
  • Minor injuries like a sprain or strain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Minor cuts
  • Sunburn
  • Lice
  • Urinary tract infections​

 

Go to a Retail Clinic when:

  • Your primary care doctor's office is closed or he/she is not available.
  • You need care for a condition that is not life-threatening and is covered by your L.A. Care Health Plan (please reference our Retail Clinics page to see what services are covered and not covered).
  • You want to view estimated wait times and hold a same-day place in line.
Emergency Room

An emergency is when a person could die or be permanently hurt. The Emergency Room (ER) provides care for critical or life-threatening conditions. Examples include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Severe chest pain or pressure
  • A sudden, bad headache
  • Suddenly not being able to speak, see, walk or move
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Having thoughts about hurting yourself
  • Seizures (uncontrollable violent spasms)
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Poisoning or drug overdose
  • Severe wounds or broken bones
  • Head injury
  • Eye injury

 

If you think you have a health emergency, call 911 or go to the ER immediately.

After Urgent Care

It's best to let your primary care doctor know about your visit as soon as you can as you may need follow-up care. Retail Clinics will send notes about your visit to your primary care doctor at your request.