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Medical Emergencies

For severe or potentially life-threatening medical or mental health emergencies, call 911 or go to a local hospital emergency room.

To find hospitals and urgent care clinics in Austin, search the internet or check your health insurance for a list of in-network doctors.

What to Do When University Health Services is Closed

UT students who are sick or injured can call the UHS 24-hour Nurse Advice Line at (512) 475-6877 (NURS) anytime for self-care advice and help determining whether and when to see a doctor.
UHS 24-Hour Nurse Advice Line

If you need to seek care from a local urgent care or emergency room please keep the following in mind:

  • The cost for visits to local healthcare facilities vary widely based on the facility and whether you have health insurance. Such costs are the patient's responsibility - the university does not cover them.
  • If you have insurance, call your insurance provider and ask for referrals in your network.
  • Use a proximity search on your mobile device or computer to find an urgent care or emergency room facility near you.

What's the difference between an urgent care clinic and an emergency room?

Local Urgent Care Clinics

If you are sick or have a medical issue that is not life-threatening, an urgent care facility is a good, cost-effective option. They are usually open late and have hours on weekends and holidays. Many urgent care practitioners can take X-rays and run basic diagnostic tests for conditions like strep, urinary tract infections, and pregnancy; they can also prescribe medication for acute conditions.

Emergency Room

An emergency room (ER), which can be freestanding or attached to a hospital, is for severe or life-threatening issues. They are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. ERs have more sophisticated equipment, such as advanced imaging, extensive labs, and surgical facilities. ER staffs are large and usually include specialists. Many insurance plans only cover the costs of an emergency room visit in a true medical emergency.

Important differences

  • Cost - Treatment at an urgent care facility costs significantly less than at an ER. Urgent care facilities usually take a variety of health insurance plans and require payment or copayment at the time of the visit. With many insurance providers, Urgent Care Visits may be considered a “specialist” visit and a higher co-pay amount may be charged. An ER will often send a bill after the time of treatment. Some health insurance plans charge a high co-payment for ER visits and some will not cover an ER visit if the condition was not a medical emergency and could have been treated at another facility. Costs at any facility are the patient's responsibility; the university does not cover them.
  • Wait time - The wait time at an urgent care facility is typically shorter, because patients are seen on a first-come, first-served basis. In an ER, patients are seen in order of the severity of their issues.
  • Scope of services – Both can treat many acute conditions; only an ER can address life-threatening conditions. See the list of examples below.
Common Reasons to Visit
urgent care iconUrgent Care Facility
emergency room iconEmergency Room
Flu symptoms Sudden changes in vision
Fever with a rash Severe abdominal pain
Bronchitis or severe cough with fever Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
Sprains or minor fractures Paralysis
Vomiting or diarrhea Severe or persistent vomiting or diarrhea
Minor cuts requiring stitches Severe head or eye injuries
Animal or insect bites Serious burns
Urinary tract infection Dizziness, weakness, or confusion
Severe chest pain or pressure or irregular heartbeat
Sudden testicular pain or swelling
Vomiting or coughing up blood
Profuse sweating

Mental Health Crisis

UT students can call the UT Counseling and Mental Health Center CMHC Crisis Line at (512) 471-2255 (CALL) to speak with a trained counselor about their concern.

UT Counseling and Mental Health Center CMHC Crisis Line

Helpful Links

UHS Urgent Care