by E. Eugene Webb PhD, from Bay Post Internet
You’ve probably noticed a lot of ads on TV, in the newspaper and even in the mail about coming to the hospital emergency room. All the ads are quick to point out if you are experiencing a serious emergency such as a heart attack, stroke, or other life-threatening medical situation you should go to the emergency room immediately.
Emergency rooms at major hospitals are all suffering a significant decline in visits due to the COVID-19 virus. Obviously along with the decline in visits comes a decline in revenues and emergency rooms are important revenue and profit producers for virtually all hospitals who have them.
All of those smiling faces and doctors with longing, caring looks and pictures and videos of cleaning and gurneys being pushed lovingly through the emergency-room halls are really just an attempt to get you to think about the emergency room next time you have a sniffle, sprain, cut, bruise or something you don’t quite understand going on in your body.
Just remember, emergency-room care is some of the most expensive medical care you can search out. Think about all those stories about the $80 aspirin, $100 a pill Tylenol or its equivalent and a $50 band aid with a $200 doctor procedure to stick it on your arm.
When you need an emergency room, and it’s an emergency you need to go to the emergency room. It is not a particularly good place to go to get a COVID-19 test, and if you’re lonely and just looking for someone to talk to it’s going to be a really expensive conversation.
An ER visit is rarely something that you anticipate or prepare for days or weeks in advance. You can make your next visit as smooth as possible by taking along these items with you or having them on hand in your purse, wallet, or home.
Things to bring to the emergency room
List of Current Medications
List of Allergies
List of Doctors treating you
Insurance Cards and Co-Pay
Legal Documents (Living Will and/or Directives)
Ingested Poison, Spiders, and Other Toxins
Emergency Contact Information
If you are of legal age and have a significant other as opposed to a spouse, or if a relative or friend takes you to the ER, they may be asked to sign the admissions form. They should decline because in most cases, this is an attempt to get another person liable for payment.
If the ER refuses care if your significant other, relative or friend refuses to sign, grab your cell phone and call the police or sheriff.
In fact, if you’re not experiencing severe medical trauma such as heart attack symptoms, stroke symptoms, uncontrolled dizziness or certain things like that you should probably consider the urgent care office in preference to a trip to the hospital emergency room.
You might want to check your health insurance policy or your Medicare supplement policy and look at the difference between copays for an emergency room and an urgent care center.
Emergency rooms provide a vital an essential service to all communities. Because of the level of care, type of care and the emergency nature of the situation costs are extremely high.
They will be happy to see you, just be sure to bring your credit card along and be careful of those forms you sign when you go through admissions to the emergency room.
When you see terms like” waive rights to,” “must present credit card” (cash is always an option), “responsible for costs not covered by insurance,” “list an additional responsible party” or anything similar mark them out, initial, and date. If they refuse care, see above comment.
Seriously, right now while you have some time get out your Medicare supplement health care insurance and check on those copays and deductibles. When you start feeling bad, it might be a good idea to call your primary-care doctor and either get some advice over the phone or even doing an online video office visit before you race to the emergency room.