Your guide to care beyond the doctor's office

What happens when you have a bad cold or sprain your ankle—and your doctor's office is closed? For minor illnesses and injuries, you don't need to head to the emergency room.

Many primary care provider (PCP) offices now have evening and weekend hours, so call them first in non-emergency situations. Even if they're not open, a provider is generally on call 24/7. They'll help you decide if you should wait to receive care until the office is open or if you need to be seen right away.

If you don't need emergency care, but need to be seen outside of your PCP's office hours, you can save time and money by using other choices available with your BCBSRI plan. The information below can help with your choice.

Where can you go?

Members have choices for care when it is not an emergency.

Call 911 or head to the emergency room right away if you feel your health is in serious jeopardy. Symptoms that are best evaluated in the emergency room include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent chest pain
  • Altered mental status or confusion, including suicidal thoughts
  • Sudden, severe headache
  • Deep cuts that require stitches or a large open wound that won’t stop bleeding
  • Broken bones or dislocations
Usually open daily, including evenings

These walk-in clinics are staffed with medical professionals and provide help for minor sicknesses and injuries.

Examples of illnesses and injuries treated:

  • Cough, sore throat, fever
  • Flu
  • Ear or sinus pain
  • Bumps, cuts, scrapes
  • Eye swelling, irritation, or pain
Open 24/7

See a doctor on your smartphone, tablet, or computer for minor illnesses. Search “BCBSRI Drs. Online” from the Apple or Google app store*, or visit

Examples of illnesses and injuries treated:

  • Cold and flu symptoms
  • Allergies
  • Bronchitis and other respiratory infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Skin irritations
  • Sinus problems
  • Migraines
Usually open daily, including evenings

These centers treat a range of conditions from minor illnesses and injuries to those that are more serious.

Examples of illnesses and injuries treated:

  • Cough, sore throat, fever
  • Flu
  • Ear or sinus pain
  • Bumps, cuts, scrapes
  • Eye swelling, irritation, or pain
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Back pain
  • Sprain
  • Mild asthma
  • Stitches
  • Animal bite
  • Burns

Information adapted from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. The information provided herein is not medical advice and should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.

Apple and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Google Play is a trademark of Google Inc.

Doctors Online is a telemedicine service provided by American Well, an independent company that administers Doctors Online on behalf of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island.

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