There’s a big difference between acute care and subacute care. Acute care is the kind of care you receive when you’ve experienced a major medical disaster. Subacute care, on the other hand, is the type of medical care you seek when a reasonably serious, yet usually non life-threatening, event of physiological harm has occurred.

It’s best not to wait until a medical event has happened to decide which type of care is best. Even if you’re stumbling upon this guide at the last minute, we have what you need to know about the benefits of subacute medical care versus acute care.

How to assess your medical needs

To determine whether acute or subacute care is most appropriate for your circumstances, you’ll need to learn how to judge the general severity of a medical event. Let’s start with a brief quiz. Are the following medical events (A) acute or (B) subacute?

1. A broken arm
2. A serious cold with blocked air passages
3. A heart attack
4. A bee sting if you’re allergic to bees and you don’t have an epi-pen

Here are the answers — but you already know them:

1. A
2. B
3. A
4. B

Differences between acute and subacute care

In every case, an acute medical care facility can take care of subacute medical emergencies. Subacute medical care facilities, on the other hand, cannot take care of most acute medical problems.

They are, however, usually much less busy than emergency rooms, and you might enjoy a more personable experience. Plus, there’s the undeniable benefit of being able to pay an up-front fee for your service — you can avoid haggling with your insurance company this time.

By the way, the average fee for a subacute medical center visit is:

Around $100 for very minor problems
About $250 for basic problems that a ER could also cover
Around $500 for specialized care on par with what an ER could provide

Keep in mind that not all subacute medical care facilities even offer upper-range services. Some focus more on bangs, scrapes, and bruises than serious lacerations, catatosis, or insulin shock.

Deciding between your options

In a moment of crisis, you’ll need to make a hard decision. Do you:

A. Go to the ER, brave long wait lines, and pay who-knows-much at the end of the visit
B. Or, go to a subacute care clinic and receive fast, affordable care that might not solve your emergency

This decision might not be as tough as you think. Every qualified subacute medical care clinic has close relationships with local acute care centers.

How to choose the right subacute care provider

If your problem ends up being too big to handle, it should be a piece of cake to move you somewhere more suitable. Ask your subacute medical center about this critical factor ahead of time.

Here are some other tips for finding the best subacute care provider near you:

Check reviews on Google and Facebook
Call the center to see how fast they pick up and how well they answer questions
Ask friends, coworkers, and relatives for recommendations
Look at the center’s website for educational content and other signs of proper investment

Subacute care can be the solution

You could need to rush to the ER or even call an ambulance based on your condition. But, that might not be necessary.

In a surprising number of cases, subacute care facilities can provide the same or better care than ERs and other acute care centers. That’s because trained medical professionals at subacute facilities have the time and patience to address your particular concerns. All that, and you don’t even have to pay and arm and a leg.