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When to Go to After-Hours, Urgent Care, or Emergency Room Care


It is important to choose the right place for care at the right time. When you can’t see your doctor, you may think your only option for help is a hospital emergency department. The hospital is the best place to go if you have a true medical emergency. But for less serious situations, you have other choices. Below is a guide to help you choose the right place based on your health needs.


If you need non-emergency care after normal business hours, you can use the free 24/7 MyVirtualMPC mobile app for a quick video visit with a local doctor. Visit www.myvirtualmpc.com for information and to register or download the app from your smartphone’s app store. You can also call your PCP’s office, and your doctor or their answering service will be able to answer your questions or guide you to the right place to get care.

Use MyVirtualMPC After Hours for:

  • Checkup
  • Health Screening
  • Cough/Cold
  • Fever
  • Lingering Pain
  • Unexplained Weight Loss
  • If something causes you concern


If you have an illness or injury that could turn into an emergency within 48 hours if not treated, go to an in-network urgent care center. Pre-authorization is not required, but the center must participate with Maryland Physicians Care, or you may be billed. If you are unsure if you should go to an urgent care center, use the MyVirtualMPC mobile app to talk to a doctor 24 hours a day, seven days a week, right from your phone.

Use the Urgent Care Center for:

  • Minor illness/injury
  • Flu/Fever
  • Vomiting/Diarrhea
  • Sore Throat/Earache/Eye Infection
  • Sprain/Strain
  • Possible Broken Bone
  • Sports Injury


What’s an emergency medical condition? It requires immediate medical attention to avoid serious impairment to your health. Call 9-1-1 or go to the closest hospital emergency department if you need emergency care. You can self-refer to any emergency department, and pre-authorization is not required. If your PCP and MCO are unaware of your emergency room visit, call them afterward so they can arrange for any follow-up care you may need.

Use the Emergency Room for:

  • Unconscious
  • Convulsion/Seizure
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Severely Broken Bone
  • Serious Head/Neck/Back Injury
  • Sexual Assault
  • Chest Pain/Pressure
  • Severe Bleeding
  • Poisoning
  • Severe Burn

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