You don’t expect to get sick. You don’t anticipate an accidental injury. And you certainly do not welcome life-threatening health events. Knowing where to go in these situations can help relieve some of the worry and stress.
“I can’t say it enough. Having a relationship with a personal physician is the most important thing you can do for your health,” says Dr. Tim Gutshall, family physician and chief medical officer at Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield. According to Gutshall, if you don’t have a personal physician, make it a priority to find one.
“You should be able to talk to your personal physician about anything. Don’t hesitate when it comes to calling your personal physician in urgent care situations. Your physician’s office or on-call service is trained to guide you through these events. It’s one of the main benefits of having a physician who knows you.”
If you feel it’s an emergency, act quickly. In some cases, such as a stroke or heart attack, delays in treatment often lead to more serious consequences.
Even though it may seem obvious, emergency rooms are not the place for routine care. However, every year millions of Americans use the emergency room for routine medical care. They face long waits for care they could receive more quickly in a physician’s office.
What's more, you'll pay far more out-of-pocket for emergency room care. Office visit copayments or coinsurance typically cost around $10-$30. Emergency room copayments or coinsurance will cost you far more, likely between $100-$300.
In an emergency, don’t hesitate. Go to the emergency room or call 911. But, if you feel your condition doesn’t require the emergency room, call your personal physician, go to a walk-in clinic or urgent care center or call Personal Health Assistant 24/7 at 800-724-9122.
|Physician's office or call Personal Health Assistant 24/7 at 800-724-9122||Walk-in clinic or
urgent care center
Fevers that respond to fever-reducing medications
Ankle sprains and other strains of muscles and joints
Coughs and colds
Abdominal pain or other symptoms that resemble an illness that is “going around”
Injuries or illnesses that are non-life threatening, but can’t wait for a physician’s office visit:
Injuries such as sprains, minor cuts and burns, minor broken bones, or minor eye injuries.
Chest pain lasting two minutes or more
Sudden or severe pain
Coughing or vomiting blood
Difficulty breathing; shortness of breath
Sudden dizziness, weakness or change in vision
Severe or persistent vomiting or diarrhea
Change in mental status(for example, confusion)
Any concern where you feel a delay in care may have a significant impact on your health.