Preventive Care Services: Take Charge of Your Well-being
Last week, we shared an overview of the options you have available for small but urgent matters, where you can find Paths 1, 2 and 3. I hope you never need this information, but just in case something more serious than a sore throat comes your way, you should know where you can go.
Path 4: Stand-Alone ERKnowing the difference between a stand-alone ER and an urgent care center can be hard, but can mean a big difference in saving you money. So how do you know if you’re at a stand-alone ER, which often look a lot like urgent care centers? The name includes EMERGENCY in the facility name and is open 24hours a day, seven days a week. They are separate from a hospital but are equipped and operate the same as an ER, and are staffed by board certified ER physicians. They treat many life-threatening or disabling conditions. Costs are higher than other options, just as if you went to the ER at a hospital. Based on the medical condition, you could be transferred to a hospital ER.Path 5: Hospital ERWe know it by instinct – Call 911 if you have an emergency or go to your nearest hospital emergency room! There are times when you have no choice or it’s pretty clear that a medical condition is life threatening. Some examples that require emergency medical care include having chest pain or signs of a heart attack or stroke, a deep cut or wound that won’t stop bleeding, a severe burn or serious head, neck or back injury. All these and other serious conditions should be treated at the nearest hospital emergency room. Out-of-pocket costs are higher, and wait times can average 4 hours. Remember ER visits should be reserved for true emergencies. If in doubt, and there’s a second to spare, you can always call ahead to your nearest emergency facility to ask if the condition warrants a trip to the hospital ER.
Needing an emergency room (either stand-alone or attached to a hospital) can be a scary experience. Life and death situations don’t come often, but if you’re ever in the position to need an emergency room, I hope you can now identify which solution is best for you. If you have specific questions on what your BCBSTX health plan covers, call us. We can help -- call us at the number on the back of your Membership ID card.
Most recent update: 1/24/2018
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