Answers to your Questions
Commonly Asked Questions about Hospitals and Healthcare Systems
What should you know when selecting a hospital?
There are several factors for consideration. Does your doctor have admitting privileges at the hospital? Does he/she have a recommendation on a hospital? Is the hospital covered under your health plan? Quality and reputation also are important considerations when choosing a hospital for yourself or a family member. Some of the factors to consider include the ratings a hospital has in overall care and in the specific condition for which you are being treated. It is a good idea to do some research into ratings by state agencies, consumer groups or other groups. Always check with your personal physician before selecting a hospital.
When should you use an emergency room?
Emergency rooms at hospitals are designed, equipped and staffed to treat true medical emergencies, rather than minor illnesses or injuries or for routine care. Go to the ER immediately if you think you are having an emergency such as trouble breathing, severe or uncontrolled bleeding, chest pains, signs of a stroke, or other similar crises. If you think you are having an emergency, call 911!
Because the true medical emergencies or traumas take priority in an emergency room, if you do not have an emergency that needs the services of an emergency room, you will have to wait longer to be seen in an ER than you would have to wait in your doctor’s office or in a walk-in, or urgent care clinic. It will also cost more to visit an emergency room for a non-emergency, because of the overall cost of providing highly specialized care in an emergency room. It is also important to establish a medical “home” for yourself and your family. It is important to have your own physician who treats you on a regular basis and with whom you can establish an ongoing medical relationship, rather than using the emergency room in place of a regular physician.
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