Healthcare Services

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Healthcare Services

It can be confusing as to which type of provider or type of facility you need for a given health concern/situation.  There are many types and locations of healthcare providers in Duluth.  Please find a partial list below with types of providers/facilities, examples of situations in which you might use them, and links to their web page for more information.  In non-emergency situations, it is a good idea to check with your insurance provider to see if there are any restrictions to the facilities you can use without incurring additional cost, which can be significant.


Primary Care

Primary care is the day-to-day healthcare given by a healthcare provider, often within a Family Medicine, Primary or General Care Clinic, or Internal Medicine Clinic.  The healthcare provider may be a physician, nurse practitioner (NP), or physician assistant (PA).  

The primary care provider (PCP) often serves as:

  • Your first and main point of contact to a healthcare system

  • Your contact for ongoing patient care within a healthcare system

  • Coordinator of specialty care that you may need.  Many insurance plans require a referral from your primary care provider to see a specialist.

Having a primary healthcare provider who knows you, has been shown to result in better health outcomes, decreased healthcare inequalities, fewer emergency department visits, fewer hospitalizations, and lower healthcare spending.

--Links to Primary Care Providers in Duluth

Convenient Care (basic care)

There are a growing number of convenient care facilities that provide same-day service but generally have fewer services than an Urgent Care, and are best suited for more minor illnesses that do not need X-rays or lab tests that require blood to be drawn, for example, cold symptoms, sore throat, earache, pink eye, minor rashes, and urinary tract infections.  

  • A few examples of names are: Quick Care, Q Care, Care Express and MinuteClinic.

  • May be freestanding but are often located inside another facility, such as inside a full-service clinic, grocery store, or drug store.

  • Care is typically provided by a nurse practitioner (NP) or physician assistant (PA).  Physicians are not typically available in a convenient care setting.

  • Often do not have a laboratory for blood draws or imaging services for x-rays.  

  • You may want to call ahead of time to verify that the site you choose is the appropriate place for your needs and to verify that the facility takes your type of insurance.

----Links to Convenient Care locations in Duluth

Urgent Care (intermediate care)

Urgent Care centers provide same-day care for minor illnesses and injuries that need urgent medical attention that "can’t wait until tomorrow" and may require x-rays and/or lab tests that require blood to be drawn, but are not life-threatening.  Appointments are not necessary, but in some facilities appointments are an option.

  • Care is typically provided by a physician, physician assistant (PA), or nurse practitioner (NP).  

  • Usually have laboratory (lab) facilities for blood draws and some imaging services for x-rays.

  • Are able to address the same types of concerns listed for convenient care facilities plus additional conditions that are not life-threatening such as injuries that may require an x-ray or stitches, vomiting and stomach flu, asthma flare, or bronchitis.
  • Often have set hours, open into the evening, but are not usually open 24 hours a day and may be closed certain days of the week or holidays.  You may want to check ahead of time for hours, either by calling or checking their website, and also verify that they take your insurance plan.

--Links to Urgent Care locations in Duluth

Emergency Services (advanced care)

An Emergency Room (ER) or Emergency Department (ED) is a medical facility that specializes in providing care for medical emergencies, potentially life-threatening illnesses and injuries including heart attacks, strokes, severe allergic reactions, trauma and severe injuries, etc.  

  • In the event of a medical emergency, call 911.  Cost for emergency services is typically incurred only if you are transported to an ER/ED via ambulance.  If paramedics make an assessment and do not feel that you need to be taken by ambulance, there is typically no charge.

  • Appointments are not necessary.  

  • Most ERs/EDs operate 24 hours a day / 7 days a week / 365 days a year.  

  • Patients may arrive by their own means or by an ambulance, after calling 911.

  • ERs/EDs are usually found within a hospital.

  • Usually have full laboratory and imaging (X-ray and scanning) capabilities.

  • Often have ready access to specialty physicians (such as cardiologists, neurologists), especially in larger towns or cities.

--Links to Emergency Rooms/Departments in Duluth

Mental Health Services

For non-emergency mental health needs:

The University of Minnesota offers access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for all benefit-eligible employees, their spouses and dependents.  

  • EAP provides confidential professional consultation and referral services to address any personal or work concern that may be affecting your wellbeing.  

  • Free confidential consultations can be by phone or in-person.  

  • Services are provided by Sand Creek Group, Ltd.  Call (218) 481-7477 or 1-844- 678-5710.  For counseling or crisis services after hours, call 1-888-243-5744 which is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

  • If you need/desire ongoing therapy or care, the EAP counselor can help you find a provider/counselor to meet your mental health needs.  

Options in case of a mental health emergency / crisis:

  • Call the BirchTree Center crisis line at (218) 623-1800 or (844) 772-4724

    • Available 24 hours a day / 7 days a week

    • Have a crisis team that will come to homes, clinics, etc., under certain circumstances

  • Go to the Emergency Room/Department at either St. Luke's Hospital or Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center.

  • If immediate assistance is needed, call 911.