Hospital emergency departments in Rhode Island are currently very crowded. Children and adults in emergency departments with less serious health issues are experiencing long wait times. If you or your child does not need emergency medical care, please do not go to the emergency department. Long waits in the emergency department are frustrating, and they expose you and your family to new sicknesses.
Many health issues can be treated more quickly and effectively by a primary care provider or in an urgent care facility or health center. These include back pain, sprains, minor cuts, colds, sore throat, low-grade fevers, and most cases of norovirus (also known as the stomach flu).
Go to an urgent care center in Rhode Island. It's a good idea to call ahead to verify hours and location.
RIDOH has made every effort to establish a comprehensive, user-friendly list to assist Rhode Islanders to identify appropriate alternatives to Emergency Departments for non-emergent medical issues. If you are a Community Health Center, Urgent Care, or Walk-in Care facility and believe your facility should be included in this list, please contact DOH.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help Prevent Hospitalization
Be up-to-date on your COVID-19 vaccinations. For most people, that means getting a COVID-19 booster. COVID-19 vaccine significantly reduces the chances that you will be hospitalized because of COVID-19.
If you do not qualify for Medicaid or coverage through HealthSource RI, there are several places to go for health care. These places provide care regardless of a person’s immigration status, although they may ask about your status to help determine whether you may be eligible for coverage. Providers must keep this information confidential.
Community Health Centers: Call 401-274-1771 (rihca.org) to find a health center near you (for adults and children).
Rhode Island Free Clinic: Call for an eligibility appointment: 401-274-6374 (for adults only).
If you need care at a hospital, ask about the hospital ‘charity care’ program. The hospital may cover all or part of your bill if you are unable to pay. The hospital must post its charity care eligibility rules and how to apply. Ask the business office of the hospital for an application. Charity care is available regardless of immigration status.
If you need to have emergency services at a hospital, and you are not eligible to enroll in Medicaid just because of your immigration status, you may be eligible to have Medicaid pay the hospital bills. The hospital helps you fill out the application.