Promoting the benefits of the PCP is one solution to reducing ER use

September 2023

ERs get all the love, perhaps too much. People visit for big reasons and far too often for small ones. There are over users who end up in the ER on a regular basis and patients who simply don’t know their care options.

Blue KC is committed to members getting the right care at the right place. Educating them about where to go for care as well as the benefits of having a PCP is one strategy.

Please help reinforce this message to your clients by pasting the story below into an email or posting it on your business website or blog.

Getting the right care at the right place may not mean going to the ER

ERs get all the love, perhaps too much. While an ER is absolutely where you should go for a life-threatening emergency, chest pain, head trauma, and other serious conditions, it’s not the ideal choice for less severe injuries or illnesses. For those – such as a respiratory infection, UTI, sinus infection, or sprain – you have options where you’ll get less costly and more appropriate care. One of those options is a primary care provider (PCP). 

Your PCP may be a Spira Care provider if your health plan includes Spira Care, an in-network doctor, a nurse practitioner, or a physician assistant. You should be able to tell your PCP anything – so choose one you trust. You can expect your PCP to do the following for you.   

1. Provide care when you’re sick

Make your PCP – not the ER – the first call when you’re sick or have a minor injury. You’ll pay less, avoid long wait times, and get the most appropriate attention for your condition. When in doubt, refer to our Know Where To Go guidelines.

2. Provide proactive preventive care  

A PCP provides proactive preventive care and can help identify issues like infectious disease, respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer, mental health disorders, substance use, and violence.  

3. Ensure a chronic condition gets consistent attention

A chronic condition – such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or asthma – requires consistent management. Your PCP knows you and your conditions and is the best choice for providing the ongoing care you need. If you need a specialist to treat your chronic condition, your PCP can refer you to one and coordinate with them throughout your care journey.  

4. Lower your healthcare costs  

Maintaining good health can help you avoid bigger, more costly healthcare issues. Blue KC members enrolled in a plan with Spira Care can visit a Spira Care Center for their primary care needs for $0*. Spira Care Centers offer same-day and next-day appointments for sick care and urgent care needs. For members who use an in-network PCP, your annual preventive visit – and many other preventive services – are covered at 100%.  

5. Save time  

Your PCP can provide multiple services in one appointment, such as a checkup, screenings, and immunizations.

Don’t Have a PCP? Don’t worry. 

  • Find one in your neighborhood – Visit your member portal at, select Find Care in the left column, then enter any of the following in the search bar: PCP, family medicine, internal medicine, general practice, or a specific provider name. 
  • Visit a Spira Care Center – Blue KC members enrolled in a plan with Spira Care can visit a Spira Care Center for $0*. Make an appointment at one of nine Spira Care Centers in the Kansas City metro area.  

*Blue KC members with a Spira Care HSA plan pay a low cost for visits.