Urgency (UCA) or Emergency (ED)? How to choose where to go for medical attention in Aruba

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ORANJESTAD — When on vacation and an unexpected health mishap arise, many people’s first reaction is to head to an emergency room. But when those illnesses and injuries aren’t true emergencies, not knowing the best option for care can end up costing both time and money.

So how can you know where to go when medical attention is needed?

Urgent Care Aruba (UCA) or Emergency Department?

UCA at the Noord Medical Center provide a way to keep up with patients’ daily healthcare needs, serving as a vital link between the emergency room and primary care physicians.

Dr. Carlos Yagua Velasquez, Managing Director of UCA explains that they, as a family of nine (9) physicians, started the development of UCA in 2013 because it provides patients with an alternative to the emergency room, which can be too costly and time-consuming for situations like common illnesses and minor injuries. He states that “While the ED at the Dr. Horacio Oduber is best equipped to handle life-threatening illnesses and injuries, it’s important that patients are aware that there are more affordable options available for less serious situations.”

Due to shorter wait times – they offer a wait time of 30 minutes or less – and much lower prices, as a more convenient and affordable option than, but not a substitute for, an emergency room. To help the local community and their visitors from abroad to save money, Urgent Care Aruba known as UCA, is gathering resources to educate and promote on the best healthcare options.

When care is needed for true emergency situations, such as heart attacks, strokes, major bleeding or severe burns, it’s vital to go to the ED at the Dr. Horacio Oduber Hospital immediately.

Financial Savings

When patients visit an emergency room for a non-emergency, they risk incurring a substantial financial loss. Emergency rooms are more expensive for treatment of non-life-threatening situations, while UCA at the Noord Medical Center charges an average of 1/3 of the cost.

Plus, a large percentage of all emergency room visits could take place at UCA, which would save consumers. Additionally, UCA accepts certain travel insurance plans, with either full coverage, co-pays, or they will provide you with all pertinent documentation for reimbursement as a self-pay visit.

Understanding the options

“With the availability of a facility, such as UCA, patients need to take care to understand their options,” Dr. Carlos Yagua Jr said. “The emergency room prices can cause sticker shock for patients who aren’t aware of the distinction.”

Residents and visitors from abroad should be sure to confirm the type of facility they’re visiting, as treatment at the ER may cost more than UCA at the Noord Medical Center. q


Carlos Yagua Velasquez

UMC Urgent Medical Care NV