VIDEO: Should You Go to The ER for Broken Bones?

Fun fact: not all broken bones are the same. In this edition of E.R. or Urgent Care, Dr. Martin explains when you should go to an emergency room or urgent care for broken bones injuries.




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A note from our doctors: Any medical procedure associated with a hospital is going to come at a higher cost to you. If you’re hurt and need to see a doctor, consider the severity of your condition and give your primary care doctor or a local urgent care center a call before defaulting to an emergency department. This small change could save hundreds of dollars and hours of time.

Want to know which injuries require a visit to the E.R.? Learn more here

When You Should and Should Not Go To An Emergency Room

It’s 10:30 at night. After turning the television off, you head down stairs for a late-night snack. You stumble in the dark to find the light switch, miss the handrail and fall down a few steps. Now your ankle is bruised, swollen and you’re a bit shaken.

Your first thought might be “I need to get to an emergency room!” However, recent studies show that visiting an emergency room may cost you hours of time and thousands of dollars.
To be clear, there are a number of reasons you should absolutely go to the emergency room, such as: symptoms of heart attack, significant difficulty breathing, stroke or an exposed broken bone. (Keep scrolling for a breakdown of emergency room conditions)

According to a 2016 study by the Healthcare Cost Institute, emergency room costs have risen to almost $2,000. This rise in costs has allowed many healthcare providers to encourage their patients to reach out to their primary care physicians before heading straight to the emergency room.
Visiting an urgent care facility or primary care doctor can save hundreds of dollars on average. Even common conditions can cost hundreds of dollars more in an emergancy room compared to an urgent care.

Not only will an unnecessary visit to the emergency room put a strain on your wallet, you’ll likely have to wait an undisclosed amount of time. Because emergency rooms wait times are based on the severity of the condition, patients with less urgent conditions often wait longer than patients with more severe or life-threatening conditions.

Emergency room wait times on average have increased from 46.5 minutes to 58.1 in recent years, according to the CDC. Although some estimates put emergency room wait times at over 2 hours.

While the average time spent at urgent care centers from arrival to departure is about 30 minutes. 

When you are seen at an emergency room, the medical staff has very little information about you. Because of this, additional tests are often performed to receive some of the same information that your primary care doctor may already have. These tests not only may increase your exposure to radiation, and hospital acquired resistant bacteria, but add to your health care costs as well.

32% of E.R. visits are non-urgent. But the question is when should you go to an emergency room?


Any medical procedure associated with a hospital is going to come at a higher cost to you. If you’re hurt and need to see a doctor, consider the severity of your condition and give your primary care doctor or a local urgent care center a call before defaulting to an emergency department. This small change could save hundreds of dollars and hours of time.

Still looking for more information or have questions about a specific condition? Call our Urgent Care Hotline at (352) 224- CARE or hit the button below.


SIMEDHealth Electronic Check-in Now in Gainesville Primary Care

You may have noticed a few changes in our clinics, as SIMED has transitioned to SIMEDHealth. The biggest change so far is our new electronic check-in system.

After testing this system in our Gainesville Neurology, Neurosurgery and newly renovated primary care suite, we are excited to announce the addition of this system in our Urgent Care clinic and Gainesville Primary Care clinics.

This E-check-in system allows for less paperwork, secure transfer of health information and an improved patient experience. It may seem complex but is actually fairly simple.

As appointment times approach, patients will receive a reminder notification and be prompted to fill out paperwork via text message or email. Once patients arrive, they’ll need to briefly complete their registration on an electronic pad (shown above). This allows our patients to spend less time in a waiting room and more time with their providers. With less paperwork to sift through, clinic staff and physicians can focus on delivering personalized care to patients.

Our E-check-in system also allows patients to verify insurance coverage before exams and pay all remaining balances on their accounts.

The system is held to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), is registered as an approved solution with Visa and MasterCard, and uses top encryption and security technology to protect your financial information. Your credit card information will never be saved in the system, and staff members will also only be able to see the last four digits of your credit card number to ensure the data is unusable in the event of a breach. The new electronic check-in system meets the strict security requirements of the healthcare industry to ensure patients are protected. All the information you enter is private, secure, and never stored in a physical location.

At SIMEDHealth, we are always looking for new ways to make our patient experience more efficient and personalized. We’re excited to be able to offer this new feature in our Gainesville Primary Care and Urgent Care clinics and look forward to keeping our patients in the best of health.

Keep an eye out for more announcements about our E-check-in system as we introduce it to more clinics in our practice.

Have questions? Contact us here

Need an appointment? Click here

Do You Know the Warning Signs of Meningitis?

Meningitis is one of the 10 leading causes of death with over 1.2 million worldwide cases and 135,000 deaths per year.

But what exactly is meningitis and what should you know about it? 

“There is a protective lining of tissue around the brain and spinal cord called the meninges. Meningitis is inflammation of these tissues,” said Dr. Calvin Martin of SIMEDHealth Urgent Care.

Spread similarly to the common cold or flu, anyone can catch meningitis through close contact with anyone who has it by kissing, sharing beverages eating utensils, sneezing or coughing. The most common symptoms of meningitis are headaches and a stiff neck. However, according to Dr. Martin, there are a number of other symptoms to watch out for.

“If the cause is infectious, then there is usually high fever, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes a rash. Additionally, meningitis can cause widespread problems in the body including sepsis (which may lead to organ failure), brain swelling (which may cause brain tissue to be squeezed out of the skull), seizures, altered mental status, blood clots (which may lead to paralysis), and death,” Dr. Martin said.

There are a number of factors which may put you at risk for this life-threatening illness. According to Dr. Martin these risks include:

  • Being over 65 years of age
  • Being in close conditions to someone with meningitis
  • Head trauma
  • Recent upper respiratory infection
  • Being a diabetic
  • Being an alcoholic
  • Injection drug abuse
  • Those with implanted medical devices in the skull

The best way to prevent against meningitis is to get immunized, said Dr. Martin. Other precautions include hand washing, avoiding exposure to those with the illness, eating well, getting good sleep and exercise to maintain a strong immune system. At SIMEDHealth we believe preventative care is the best way to ensure a healthy life.

“If you feel that you may have meningitis and have minor symptoms such as a headache, slightly stiff neck or low lever fever, consider being evaluated at First Care to determine your risk and symptoms,” Said Dr. Martin.

Set up an appointment with your primary care doctor today to request the meningitis vaccine. 

Get the Facts about Drug and Alcohol Use

People holding up classes of alcohol with the text: Could you be drinking too much alcohol

National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week is a health observance week to clarify the truths and myths about drug and alcohol use. SIMED Gainesville Urgent Care physician, Dr. Scott Wilson, shared important information on drugs and alcohol.

Alcohol Facts:

A standard drink is:
A 12 ounce bottle of beer (about 5% alcohol)
- 8 ounces of malt liquor – beer with a high alcohol content (about 7% alcohol)
- 5 ounces of table wine (about 12% alcohol)
- 1.5 ounces (a “shot”) of liquor, like gin, rum, vodka, tequila, or whiskey (about 40% alcohol)

Moderate alcohol consumption: Moderate drinking is up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men, according to a report by the US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health.

Binge Drinking: Binge drinking typically occurs after 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men—in about 2 hours. NIAAA defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL.

Heavy Alcohol Use: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration defines heavy alcohol use as binge drinking on 5 or more days in the past month

Certain people should avoid alcohol completely, including those who:
1. Plan to drive a vehicle or operate machinery
2. Take medications that interact with alcohol
3. Have a medical condition that alcohol can aggravate
4/ Are pregnant or trying to become pregnant

Short-Term Consequences of Intoxication (being “drunk”):
1. An intoxicated person has a harder time making good decisions.
2. A person is less aware that his/her behavior may be inappropriate or risky.
3. A person may be more likely to engage in risky behavior, including drinking and driving, sexual activity (like unprotected sex) and aggressive or violent behavior.
4. A person is less likely to recognize potential danger.

Long-Term Consequences of Binge Alcohol Use or Use of Alcohol in Large Amounts:Flat Design Infographic Guide to Drinking Alcohol and Alcoholism
1. Unintentional injuries such as car crash, falls, burns, drowning
2. Intentional injuries such as firearm injuries, sexual assault, domestic violence
3. Increased on-the-job injuries and loss of productivity
4. Increased family problems, broken relationships
5. High blood pressure, stroke, and other heart-related diseases
6. Liver disease
7. Nerve damage
8. Sexual problems
9. Permanent damage to the brain
10. Vitamin B1 deficiency, which can lead to a disorder characterized by amnesia, apathy and disorientation
11. Ulcers
12. Gastritis (inflammation of stomach walls)
13. Malnutrition
14. Cancer of the mouth and throat

Alcohol poisoning occurs when there is so much alcohol in a person’s bloodstream that areas of the brain controlling basic life-support systems—such as breathing, heart rate, and temperature control—begin to shut down. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include: confusion, difficulty remaining conscious, vomiting, seizures, trouble with breathing, slow heart rate, clammy skin, dulled responses, such as no gag reflex (which prevents choking), extremely low body temperature and finally, death.

Alcoholism or Alcohol Dependence consists of four symptoms:
·         Craving: a strong need, or compulsion, to drink.
·         Loss of control: the inability to limit one’s drinking on any given occasion.
·         Physical dependence: withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness and anxiety, occur when alcohol use is stopped after a period of heavy drinking. Serious dependence can lead to life-threatening withdrawal symptoms including convulsions, starting eight to twelve hours after the last drink. The delirium tremens (D.T.’s) begins three to four days later where the person becomes extremely agitated, shakes, hallucinates and loses touch with reality.
·         Tolerance: the need to drink greater amounts of alcohol in order to get high.

Drug Facts:

Drug Addiction is a chronic disease/disorder in which there is drug seeking and compulsive (difficult to control) use of a drug(s) despite the harmful physical and social consequences

Drug addiction risk is made up of a combination of factors such as:
(a) Genetics-genes that you are born with can make up about 50 % risk of developing addiction
(b) Environment-the influence of family, friends, economic status, quality of life
(c) Development-there are critical developmental stages in a person’s life that may be affected by use of drugs which will lead to addiction

Effects of Drug Use on the Brain:

Initial Effects: The initial effects of drug use on the brain is directed at the brain’s pleasure/reward circuit. The drug causes the release of large amounts of Dopamine, a chemical messenger in the brain that controls the body’s ability to feel pleasure and motivates the person to repeat behaviors needed to thrive such as eating and spending time with people we love. If you overstimulate this reward/pleasure circuit with drug use, this creates an intense pleasurable high that can lead people to take the drug again and again to achieve that high

Tolerance: As drug use continues, the brain adjusts to the presence of excess dopamine by either making less of the dopamine and/or reducing the ability of the brain cells to respond to the dopamine. This reduces the high the person feels with continued use of the drug leading to tolerance. Tolerance leads the person to use more of the drug to achieve the same initial intense pleasurable high.

Long -Term Effects: The long-term use of drugs causes changes in the other chemicals in the brain leading to problems with: (a) Behavior, (b) Learning, (c) Memory, (d) Decision Making, (e) Judgement, and (f) Dealing with Stress. Repeated drug use leading to these changes in the brain that challenge an addicted person’s self-control and interfere with their ability to resist intense urges to take drugs. These brain changes can be persistent, which is why drug addiction is considered a "relapsing" disease—people in recovery from drug use disorders are at increased risk for returning to drug use even after years of not taking the drug.

Drug use/addiction is a treatable and managed condition. Drug use/Addiction are also preventable with involvement of parents, teachers, and health care providers in the education of young people to the hazards/pitfalls of drug use/addiction.

If you have a drug or alcohol problem, seek help from a SIMED Primary Care or Urgent Care physician. SIMED Primary Care doctors in Gainesville, Ocala, McIntosh, Lady Lake, Lake City, and Chiefland are available at (352) 224-2225. SIMED First Care Urgent Care takes walk-ins, but you can also schedule an appointment with Dr. Scott Wilson or another urgent care physician at (352) 373-2340. You can also request an appointment online for SIMED Primary Care and SIMED Urgent Care.

Urgent Care or Emergency Room? Which Choice is the Right Choice?

Urgent Care or Emergency Room? Which Choice is the Right Choice?

When an acute injury or illness strikes, as a patient, you have some important decisions to make.  Sometimes the injury or illness isn't serious enough to warrant going to an Emergency Room, but it certainly needs medical attention. Often it's difficult for you to be seen at your Primary Care doctor's office so what are your choices?
With the increase in the number of Urgent Care clinics which have opened many patients see this as a unique alternative to their healthcare.  They are able to be seen without an appointment (although the payoff is that there might be an extended wait depending on how many other patients had the same idea), and many Urgent Care centers offer a variety of services.
Employers also look to Urgent Care centers to help employees who have been injured on the job.  Employers are able to have their employees examined, treated and are able to have more direct lines of communication with the provider so they can work together to make sure the employee is recovering and back to work as quickly as possible.
Urgent Care centers are a great alternative to busy Emergency Rooms.  They're outpatient medical clinics (in most cases) and are able to charge non-ER rates.  Urgent Care centers can also offer basic preventative treatments such as some vaccinations and medications for travel, flu shots, sports or employment physicals and more. At First Care Urgent Care (SIMED's Urgent Care Center) we have the added benefit that if you are unable to be seen at your Primary Care doctor's office, any treatment you receive at First Care is included into your medical record.  There's no guessing by your Primary Care doctor and your medical record stays complete!
We asked our First Care physicians a few questions on what we should consider when selecting an Urgent Care clinic and what makes First Care a quality Urgent Care clinic in our area.  
“Is the clinic staffed by a Medical Doctor and is that Doctor on-site? Are they available to you when you're being treated?”

First Care has rotation of 3 Board Certified Family Practice Physicians and a Physician's Assistant who works directly with them.

“What services do they provide?  Will you need to make additional trips for labs, radiology services (x-ray, MRI, etc..)?”

First Care can draw and get results on stat labs, in-house x-rays, and if scheduling allows, ultrasound and CT, MRI.

“What type of Urgent Care center are they?  Some are affiliated with hospitals or are considered an extension of an Emergency Room which can affect your deductibles, co-pays or other insurance benefits.”

First Care is not affiliated with a hospital.  We are not an emergency room so that means no exorbitant Emergency Department charges!

“Is my injury appropriate for an Urgent Care center? Not all injuries or illness are right for an Urgent Care center setting.  For example, if I know if I experience chest pains, I should call 911.”

If you are unsure, just give us a call, and we can help direct you to the most appropriate care.

Remember to always have a plan in case you or your loved one is faced with an acute injury or illness and needs medical treatment but doesn't need an Emergency Room!  
First Care is open Monday - Friday from 8:00am - 6:00pm.  For more information CLICK HERE or call (352) 373-2340.