What to Do if You Can’t Get in to See Your Primary Care Doctor Right Away

Amy Barczy

| 3 min read

Amy Barczy is a brand journalist at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and writes for AHealthierMichigan.org and MIBluesPerspectives.com. Prior to joining Blue Cross, she was a statewide news reporter for MLive.com. She has a decade of storytelling experience in local news media markets including Lansing, Grand Rapids, Holland, Ann Arbor and Port Huron.

Primary care doctors play numerous important roles for patients. Making an appointment with your primary care doctor for an annual physical is an important part of staying healthy. And regularly seeing your primary care doctor can also be a crucial step in your health journey if you are managing a chronic condition and take medication as a part of a treatment plan.
For urgent health needs – if you are injured, having difficulty breathing or having chest pains or dizziness – seek emergency attention right away at a hospital emergency department. But for less urgent medical needs that require a doctor’s attention, a primary care doctor can help. Many offices set aside same-day sick appointments to see patients.
However, if you can’t get into the office to see your primary care doctor right away, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan members have several options available to them.

Patient-Centered Medical Home practices

If your primary care doctor is a part of a practice that has received the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) designation from Blue Cross, Blue Cross and Blue Care Network members can be assured they have 24/7 access to a doctor.
These practices will have an on-call doctor that you can contact if you have an after-hours medical question. The on-call doctor will ask you about your symptoms, and can advise you if you need to be immediately seen at an emergency department or walk-in urgent care. They can also advise on home treatment options until you can be seen by a medical professional.
To find out if your doctor is at a PCMH practice, log in to your online member account at bcbsm.com. 

Virtual Care by Teladoc Health® 

Blue Cross and Blue Care Network members have access to virtual health care visits through Virtual Care by Teladoc Health®, formerly Blue Cross Online Visits℠. Members can visit with a board-certified doctor or mental health expert online from anywhere in the U.S. 
For medical care, no appointment is needed. The average wait time for an appointment is 10 minutes or less. And the cost is the same or less than an in-person appointment.
For mental health care, appointments are required – but are available on flexible hours with evening and weekend options.

24-Hour Nurse Line

Blue Cross and Blue Care Network members can get free help with medical questions 24/7 by calling the 24-Hour Nurse Line:
  • BCBSM PPO members: 1-844-811-8460
  • BCN HMO members: 1-855-624-5214
  • TTY users: call 711
Nurses can assist with sharing healthy lifestyle tips, answering questions about upcoming surgeries and medical tests, providing educational materials about rare or chronic conditions, and discussing preventive care like immunizations and screenings. They can also advise on whether you can treat your symptoms at home, or if you need to see a doctor or go to the emergency room right away.

Walk-in clinics at urgent care and retail health clinics

If you can’t get in to see your primary care doctor right away, walk-in clinics at urgent care facilities or health clinics in retail locations like pharmacies or grocery stores may be a good choice for care. Walk-in clinics often offer care beyond traditional business hours on evenings and weekends, with no appointment needed.
Urgent care centers can offer care for illnesses and injuries that are critical but not emergencies. They can provide diagnostic tests like blood work and X-rays, and can assess and treat minor injuries. They can also assist with prescribing medication.
At retail health clinics, they can assist with prescribing medication as well as with minor illnesses.

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