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Emergency Care

If you have a medical emergency, call 911 or go to the closest emergency department. See a list of Presbyterian emergency department locations below.

In the emergency department, we diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries that can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. Emergency medicine providers have special training to provide advanced life-saving care such as:

  • Surgical procedures
  • Trauma resuscitation (restart breathing and heart)
  • Advanced cardiac life support for problems such as heart attack
  • Advanced airway management to help you breathe

After treatment, you may need to be admitted to the hospital or you may be sent home and advised to seek follow up care with another provider.

Sometimes you're not sure of the best place to get the care you need. Here are some guidelines to help:

Go to an emergency department for conditions such as:

  • Chest pain
  • Any sudden or severe pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Head injuries
  • Sudden changes in vision
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Sudden confusion or dizziness
  • Suicidal feelings
  • Coughing up or throwing up blood
  • Major broken bones, such as a leg
  • Severe diarrhea or throwing up
  • Severe bleeding
  • Abdominal pain
  • Active labor

Go to urgent care for conditions such as:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Sore throats, coughs, colds or the flu
  • Ear or sinus infection
  • Allergy flare-ups
  • Mild asthma
  • Minor broken bones, such as a finger
  • Minor cuts that may need stitches
  • Nausea

We offer urgent care, pediatric urgent care and 24/7 Urgent and Emergency Care locations in the Albuquerque metro area and in Santa Fe. View our Urgent Care locations

Presbyterian provides emergency care at the following locations:

What Should I Expect During a Visit to the Emergency Department?

  • You'll sign in and be asked your name and some basic information. We will ask you about your medical problem. Depending on your specific reason for care, you may have a wait time. The order in which patients are seen is based on how severe their illness or injury is. Staff at the emergency department are unable to provide estimated waiting times.
  • After you have been registered, you will be called up to the triage area where a nurse or other staff member will take your temperature and other vital signs. You will also be asked some questions about your medical emergency. You will be sent back to the waiting area until you are called for your medical screening exam.
  • An emergency room provider will perform a medical screening exam to determine what kind of care you need. Your provider will discuss any tests or treatment you might need and will talk to you about whether your condition is a medical emergency.
  • If your condition is an emergency, you may be treated in the emergency department or admitted to the hospital for further care. In the case of an emergency-level illness or injury, you will be treated and stabilized regardless of your ability to pay. If you do not have insurance, our patient navigators will work with you to help see if you qualify for financial assistance or insurance to pay for your emergency department visit.
  • If your provider determines your condition is not an emergency, you will meet with an on-site patient navigator who will make an appointment for you to visit a primary care clinic or refer you to urgent care, depending on the type of injury or illness you have.
  • If you wish to be treated in the emergency department for a non-emergency illness or injury, you must pay for services you receive during your visit. Many insurance plans will not pay for care or services in the emergency department if it is determined the patient's condition is not a medical emergency.
  • Patient navigators are available to work with you to see if you qualify for financial assistance or a payment plan. These services are available regardless of whether your condition is determined to be a medical emergency or can be treated in another setting.

What Are My Treatment and Payment Options?

Under the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act (EMTALA) every patient who presents to the Emergency Department for a possible medical emergency is entitled to a medical screening exam and any necessary stabilizing treatment, regardless of their ability to pay.

If, after your medical screening exam, it is determined that you do not have a medical emergency, you will have to provide proof of valid insurance or pay for any other services you receive at that time. Your insurance is required to provide coverage for all or some portion of medical (including behavioral health) emergency conditions but they may decline to provide you coverage for non-medical emergencies treated in an emergency department setting. In those circumstances, you will be responsible for any charges related to your care.

At Presbyterian, we offer financial assistance screening to any person who does not already have health insurance. During your screening, a patient financial counselor will ask you a few simple questions to help determine if you are eligible for any subsidized health insurance, Medicaid or Medicare or other financial assistance before you leave the Emergency Department. If you are eligible for financial assistance, they will provide you information and/or assist you with an application so that you can become insured.

Are Visitors and Family Allowed in the Emergency Department?

Support and encouragement from your family is important. For the privacy and safety of all our patients we may need to limit your visitors. Visitors may be asked to wait in the waiting area during your treatment.

Children must always be accompanied by a parent. Current visitor policies for the emergency department are available on each hospital’s website.