Levels of Care

To find the right health care provider for you, learn the difference between primary care, convenient care, urgent care, and emergency care.

Northland Health Alliance Manage and Prevent Chronic Disease

Primary Care:

Primary care, family medicine and internal medicine physicians provide day-to-day health care services. They are usually a patient’s first point of contact and recommend special care. They provide preventive care such as physicals, mammograms, and vaccinations.

Common reasons to go to a primary care physician:

• Chronic conditions
(high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.)
• Issues previously treated by a specialist or your primary care provider
• Medication refills

• Anxiety and depression
• Emergency Room follow-up
• Symptoms that have lasted for six months or more
• Wellness exam/PAP

Convenient Care:

Convenient care clinics, or walk-in clinics, offer treatment for common, non-life-threatening medical conditions. A convenient care clinic offers longer hours than most primary care offices.

Common reasons to go to convenient care:

• Cold symptoms
• Allergy symptoms
• Sinus congestion
• New onset cough
• Sore throat
• Ear pain
• Flu-like symptoms

• Diarrhea/nausea
• Urinary tract infection
• Fever
• Eye irritation or drainage
• Rashes
• Insect bites/stings
• Uncomplicated cuts and scrapes
• Sprains

Urgent Care:

Urgent care centers handle non-life-threatening emergencies. They often have x-ray and lab capabilities onsite. Most urgent care centers are open late and have weekend and holiday hours.

Common reasons to go to urgent care:

• Broken bones
• Burns
• Cuts that need stitches
• Severe flu/illness symptoms
(extremely high fever, dehydration)

Emergency Care:

Emergency rooms are for true medical emergencies and can handle trauma, surgical procedures, and other life-threatening situations. Most hospitals have an emergency room that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Common reasons to go to the Emergency Room:

• Chest pain
• Stroke symptoms
(weakness, slurred speech, visual changes)
• Heavy bleeding
• Abdominal pain

• Head injury
• New onset, severe headache
• Thoughts of suicide or homicide
• Injuries sustained in a car accident
• Obvious bone fracture
• Loss of consciousness

Mental and Behavioral Health:

Behavioral health providers are provide psychologists, social workers and psychiatrists who respond to the needs of clients from diverse backgrounds. They treat people in our community who suffer from severe and persistent mental illness, substance use and addiction disorders, poverty, homelessness and multiple trauma.

Common reasons to go to a mental or behavioral health provider:

• Depression
• Alcohol Use Disorder
• Substance Abuse Disorder

• Schizophrenia
• Anxiety Disorders including Post-Traumatic Stress (PTSD)

Dental Care:

Dental care focuses on a person’s teeth, gums, dental tissues, and bones of the mouth. Providers diagnose, prevent , treat  and  perform surgeries.

Common reasons to seek dental care:

• Toothache
• Broken Tooth

• Gum Disease
• Teeth Cleaning

After Hours
Care Map