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Medical Emergencies and After Hours Care

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

To find hospitals and/or emergency rooms near you, use a search engine to find an urgent care or emergency room facility near you on your mobile device or computer or check with your health insurance, if you’re insured, for a list of in-network facilities.

What to do in non-emergency situations when UHS is closed
What to keep in mind when seeking care at an urgent care clinic or emergency room
Differences between an urgent care clinic and emergency room
Mental health crises

For a known HIV exposure, call the Nurse Advice Line (512) 475-6877 (NURS) immediately to be evaluated for post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) PEP is only effective within the first 72 hours after exposure.

What to Do in Non-emergency Situations when UHS is Closed

  • If you are ill or injured and want or need medical care, seek care at a local urgent care facility.
  • If you are ill or injured and are unsure about whether, how soon or at what type of facility you need medical care OR if you want advice about how to care for yourself at home, call the UHS Nurse Advice Line* at (512) 475-6877 (NURS)..
  • If your symptoms are not significant enough to interfere with completing your day to day activities and can wait to be evaluated, schedule a UHS appointment online or call (512) 471-4955 when UHS opens. For self-care advice, call the UHS Nurse Advice Line* at (512) 475-6877 (NURS).

*IMPORTANT: After Hours Advice Line nurses cannot provide the names of specific urgent care or emergency facilities and are unable to schedule a UHS appointment for you.
Nurse Advice Line

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

  • The cost at local healthcare facilities vary widely based on the facility and your insurance status. 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 have a medical issue that is not life-threatening, an urgent care facility is a cost-effective option. They are usually open late and have hours on weekends and holidays. Many urgent care providers can take X-rays and run basic diagnostic tests for conditions like strep throat, urinary tract infections, and pregnancy. They can also prescribe medication for acute conditions.

Emergency Room

An emergency room (ER) can be freestanding or part of a hospital, and is for severe or life-threatening issues. Open 24 hours every day, 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 a lower-level facility, such as an urgent care clinic.
  • Wait time - Urgent care facility wait times are typically shorter, because they see patients on a first-come, first-served basis. ERs see patients 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