Preparing for an Emergency
Know Your Health Plan
Before an emergency occurs, make sure you know:
- 1. Whether you need to call your health plan or your doctor for approval before seeking care in the emergency department.
- 2. Who to call for advice and/or approval when your doctor's office is closed.
- 3. Whether your health plan has a 24-hour information line you can call for advice and/or approval regarding emergency department usage.
- 4. Whether you have to pay part of your emergency department bill out of your pocket (called a co-payment or deductible) and if so, how much.
- 5. Whether you need to go to an approved hospital and if so, the names and locations of those hospitals.
- 6. Whether you (or someone acting for your) needs to call your plan or your doctor within a certain period of time if you are admitted to an emergency department.
- 7. Whether you should go to an urgent care clinic for conditions that are not immediately life-threatening.
Communicate with Your Primary Care Physician
One of the best ways to prepare for an emergency is to build a good relationship with your family doctor. That way, if you have an unexpected health care problem, your family doctor will be able to give you the advice you need, whether it is over the phone or during an office visit.
- Carry Important Information With You
- Carry with you or in your wallet the following items:
- Your health plan identification card
- The name and telephone number of your primary care physician/ family doctor
- The name and number of a person to contact in case of emergency
- List of allergies you have and what the reaction to the medication/ food is
- List of any medical problems (like diabetes, CHF, cardiac, or asthma) you may have and your family history of medical problems
- A list of names and doses of any prescription medication you take on a daily basis
Keep Emergency Numbers Handy
Keep a list of emergency numbers posted by the phone. Your list should include numbers for:
- You doctor
- The Poison Control Center: 1-800-222-1222
- Rhea Medical Center: 423-775-1121
- The local ambulance service
- The police department
- The fire department