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

September 2023

“We ended up in the ER last night” is a phrase uttered far too often. Make no mistake, the ER is absolutely the place to be for a life-threatening injury or condition. But people often visit the ER for less severe conditions – ones for which they’d get better and more affordable care from another option, like a primary care provider (PCP).

As an HR leader or benefits administrator, you are all too aware that pricey ER visits can add up to higher costs for your organization. By shifting employee sensibilities about where to go for care, you may be able to drive those costs down.

The following resources can help.

  1. Cut and paste the article below – “Getting the right care at the right place may not mean going to the ER” – into an employee email or post it on your intranet.
  2. Run a four-week employee campaign using our Know Where To Go For Care Playbook. It includes an action plan and all the resources you need.

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 can 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. 

*Spira Care HSA members pay a low cost for visits.  

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