Will My Insurance Pay If I Leave Against Medical Advice

Will My Insurance Pay If I Leave Against Medical Advice?

15 Mar 2017 Health Care

There is this contentious issue that has been lingering for a very long time. The debate of whether your insurance company will pay for your medical cover if you leave against medical advice. There is a general belief that if you leave against medical advice and the hospital reports the same to your insurance company, then the latter will not pay for your expenses. How true are these claims? Well, we take a look at some common possibilities in the medical scene and examine the outcomes;

There are many reasons cited by patients for leaving against medical advice. Some are genuine concerns while others are just out of inter-person conflicts at the place of work. Some of the most genuine concerns cited include;

Long Queues and Slow Service Delivery-

Emergency room waiting times are increasing as a struggling economy forces hospitals to close and more people to lose the health care coverage that would have allowed them to be examined by a primary care physician in a less-hurried setting; many patients get tired of waiting and choose to leave without receiving proper care. Sometimes people leave before they are attended to by all the relevant medical practitioners. They lose interest because they are forced to wait for too long before they can be attended to. Can you blame someone for wanting to leave after waiting for more than 3 hours in line? Even if it is a serious medical condition, he/she can be excused for wanting to leave thanks to slow service delivery.

Poor quality care

Some people walk away because they deem the quality of service they are receiving poor. People cited poor service delivery and sluggish staff in other emergency rooms and ended up leaving before receiving the required medical care. Such people cannot be blamed as well. They say that it is for their own good that they chose to leave before they can be treated fully. Hospitals take advantage of such situations and say that such patients left against medical advice which is far from the truth. As a sane human being, you have a right to walk away or at least complain about a poor service received.

Financial constraints

The third genuine issue and the one I deemed more pertinent was the financial constraints. Patients without comprehensive health insurance may fear the costs associated with prolonged hospitalization or invasive tests. They can maybe manage to pay for the first few treatments but with time they realize that the bills accrued are beyond their prowess and they end up leaving before being discharged. Some patients are forced to be hospitalized for specialized treatment but because they know very well that their insurance doesn’t cover such costs, they opt to go home against medical advice just to save on their finances. Hospitals will then cite this as a breach of policy and even deem it as acting against medical advice when writing the report to your insurance company.

So, having have looked at the three genuine instances it is time to look at the possible outcomes. Will the insurance company pay in any of the above mentioned cases? The answer is yes! They will pay. Medicare and Medicaid pay for services that are medically necessary. Medical necessity is the threshold for payment. If the services you have already received were medically necessary, whether you choose to stay or leave is irrele
vant with regards to the services you have already received.

Unless your insurance has a specific policy rider that states you must comply with all the recommendations of your physician, which I doubt such a policy would dare exist, third parties simply do not pay based on whether you decide to agree or disagree with the plan set forth for your care. If you have any doubt, pull out your phone and call your insurance company from your room. As patients, we have the right to refuse the recommendations of our physicians at any time, including refusing further hospitalized care at the recommendation of our physician.

This is the truth of the matter. Never allow yourself to be victimized by rogue physicians and doctors who will want to use some irrelevant clauses and rules to extort money from you in the name of acting against medical advice. Anytime you feel like a certain policy is contradicting with your personal privacy, principles or going against your insurance policy, never hesitate to act against the recommendation of the physician. Afterwards, make a call to your insurance company and explain the same. They will advise you further and tell you of any repercussion.

The rumours and mills that insurance companies will not pay for any patient who leaves against medical advice should not intimidate you. Get to know your rights and facts right. Be on the lookout always and do not hesitate to report any misdemeanour by medical practitioners in regards to AMA (against medical advice)

Who uses hospital emergency rooms

Who uses Hospital Emergency Rooms?

There is a common misconception that emergency rooms are meant for people suffering from massive trauma and collisions. Following the scenes on movies and the pictures painted in horror shows and novels, people tend to think that hospital emergency rooms are filled with people bleeding from their heads with bullets lodged in their sides and so forth. This is a far cry from what it is that actually happens in hospital emergency rooms. Yes, emergency rooms admit critically injured patients who have been involved in accidents and other mishaps but most of the times, emergency room patients are suffering from minor ailments as we will see later on in the article. So, what really is a hospital emergency room? Who are the most common hospital emergency room users in America?

Hospital emergency rooms are special medical departments equipped with special machines and facilities to provide immediate and urgent treatment for acute illnesses and trauma related incidents like accidents. They are however capable of handling a number of medical complications from the most serious complications to the trivial ones. This is evident from the sort of traffic that emergency rooms handle every day in America. There is a wide range of conditions that arrive on a daily basis in emergency rooms in America. We have classified the types of people who use the emergency rooms into five categories to make you understand who it is that truly uses these emergency rooms. Here are the 5 categories of people that use hospital emergency rooms in America;

Patients with urgent conditions

A good number of people using hospital emergency rooms in America are people suffering from urgent medical conditions. These are conditions that are not necessarily life-threatening but can be fatal if they are left untreated. Conditions such as pneumonia, asthma attacks, severe abdominal pain, unconsciousness, broken bones, sports injuries and strokes. They are very serious illness which need urgent medical attention lest there will be consequences. They make up for a very large percentage of visits to the emergency rooms in the US. They make up for almost 30% of all reported cases to the emergency rooms. Such cases are normally of conditions that the doctors can put under control in a few minutes or hours. They still are a leading cause of deaths in the USA and their priority should be reconsidered especially for complications like pneumonia.

Patients with non-urgent conditions

This is category makes up the majority of the reported cases in emergency rooms in the US. They make up more than 40% of all the visits made to emergency rooms. These are people suffering from conditions which can otherwise be treated in normal hospital wings but because the patient are alarmed or don’t have access to a hospital, the ring 911 and are brought to emergency rooms. These are conditions such as chest pains, fever, flu, mild abdominal pains, toothaches, earaches and many other normal infections. They are diseases that spook very many people but in reality, they are not as serious as they deem them to be. Credit to the masses that flock the emergency rooms to report these cases because no condition is too small for reporting. Using triage, these people are third on the serving lists and spend the highest numbers of hours waiting in line according to a recent study.

Patients who come to consult

Yes! Believe it or not, there are people who come to emergency rooms to consult and seek clarifications about medical conditions they are uncertain of. They make up quite a significant of visitors to emergency rooms in America. People with no ailments at all but suspicions and doubts make up about 5%-10% of all people that visit emergency rooms.

Patients with trivial medical conditions

These are the patients who visit the emergency room for literally any form of pain or discomfort they feel in their body. This demographic consists mainly of young children and senior citizens in the community who cannot bear even the slightest of pains. These are people who come to the emergency rooms to report of trivial cases like sore thumbs, itchy skin or very minor cuts that will heal on their own. They are not as many and make up for about 10% of all emergency room visits.

Patients with life-threatening conditions

These are the patients in critical conditions. People who are normally given priority using triage in the emergency rooms. People with conditions which if left unattended to may end up claiming the lives of the patients. These are people suffering from trauma especially from car accidents, burns, falls, heart attacks and overdoses. These are the only people that most people believe should be truly be entitled to use the emergency rooms. They however account for a little over 20% of all reported cases in emergency rooms per year.

There you have it. Now you know the people that use emergency rooms in America. The emergency rooms are not meant for any specific demographic. They help save lives and also treat people with less serious illnesses. The next time you find your doctor’s office closed and are in need of medical help, don’t shy away from calling an emergency room to receive treatment.

Who is who in the Emergency Room

Who is Who in the Emergency Room?

When faced with a medical emergency, we tend to rush and scamper around the hospital looking for quick help. Anyone wearing a lab coat or any medical attire will be our last resort in an effort to get much needed medical attention. Understanding the hierarchy in an emergency room will save us a lot. Understanding the treatment process and knowing the right people to approach will help save you time and effort.

The emergency room is a place abuzz with activities. If you ever visit any emergency room during peak hours, you are likely to witness madness. Everyone is busy doing one thing or the other. It almost feels like no one cares about you. It almost feels like your medical condition is inferior to what other people are suffering from. Without the proper knowledge on the protocols of the emergency room, you might end up getting disappointed because either you like it or not, there is an order to be followed when looking to receive treatment in an emergency room. There are nurses, physicians, assistants, lab attendants and many other practitioners. You need to understand the purpose of each and every one of them if you are looking to get quick treatment. To help you understand the protocols of the hospital, here is an explanation of who is who in the emergency room;

Registration Clerks

The first people you are likely to come across are registration clerks at the reception desks. These staff members take your name, date of birth and other personal details, and then they collect your insurance provider information.

Triage nurses

Triage is a system of awarding priorities to the ailing according to the severity of their medical conditions. Triage nurses are meant to help determine the severity of your complaints and set the priorities for go sees the doctor first. If you medical condition is too serious, you will have to see the doctor with immediate effect. If it is not as serious, you will have to wait in line while those with more serious conditions are attended to first.

Primary emergency department nurses

The so called jack of all trades are meant to attend to almost every minor medical condition. These type of registered nurses have a degree in nursing, and the training and experience to manage and assist with a variety of emergency situations, from complaints about broken bones and sprained ankles to cardiac arrest. The can effectively treat wounds, burns and even administer some injections. They are actually the lot that attends to most of the emergency situations in most emergency rooms.

Physician

These are the so called Emergency room doctors. These are practitioners who have completed medical school and are qualified medical doctors. They most of the time have no specific area of specialization and will treat or come up with remedies to almost all the reported medical emergencies in the emergency room. At any one point, any good Emergency Room should have at least three physicians to attend to the patients. Flanked by nurses and other assistants, these physicians are able to handle almost all of the reported medical emergencies.

Specialist Physicians

The next line of treatment in the hierarchy are the specialist physicians. They most of the time might not be around the Emergency Room but will be available when called upon. Specialist physicians have more training in special areas. They have more training in areas like orthopaedics, surgery, neurology, cardiology and many other areas. After a physician takes a look at your situation, he/she will consult with a specialist physician to offer more specialized treatment. These are almost the last resort when it comes to seeking treatment in an emergency room.

Assistants

The other people who are of vital help in the emergency room are the assistants. There are assistants in virtually every section of the emergency room. From physician assistants to laboratory assistants, these are people meant to help the practitioners at hand to offer better service delivery. There are numerous small roles in the emergency rooms like drawing of blood, examining medical records, getting electrocardiograms and many other activities that the physician or nurse can assign to the assistants. They come in handy in the emergency rooms because they are utilities. They most of the time have the training to work in multiple departments and can therefore handle more than one job.

There are other people like forensic nurses or sexual assault nurses who are also important but are not common in most medical emergency rooms. They are assigned to special facilities and are meant to collect and examine specific information in the related fields.

Understanding the roles of these people will help you get quicker and better service. When you are in an emergency, always stay calm and go through the protocols. You will save time and get the best possible treatment.

What happens when you leave the ER without being seen?

What happens when you leave the ER without being seen?

One day back in 2015, a patient came to our Emergency room, signed in, went through the triage nurse and just as he was about to be attended to by a physician, he snapped and simply left. He wasn’t suffering from a serious illness, I bet he had been stung by a bee and had a swollen nose. As per our regulations, we charged a minimal level for triage time through the normal V64.2 code. A few weeks later, after receiving his bill that we mailed to him, the patient came back to our facility fuming. He was throwing tantrums all around claiming that we were exorbitant and we were trying to extort some money out of him. He was threatening to press charges against our facility but after a few minutes of tête-à-tête with the manager, he was convinced and apologized for the fracas he had caused. Up until that moment, I had ignored the fact that there are millions of patients out there who have no idea on what can happen if they leave the emergency room without being seen. Today, we want to look into detail what some of the causes are for people checking in into the ER and leaving without being seen and what happens afterwards.

Some of the main reasons why people end up leaving before they can be seen by a physician include;

Triage

After being examined by the triage nurse, some people are convinced that their medical conditions are not as bad after all and they resort to leaving before they can be attended to by a physician. A good number of people don’t understand the meaning of triage and that it is meant to assign priority. When people are told by nurses that their situations are not as urgent, they imagine that they are not as ill after all and they end up leaving before treatment.

Long queues

The other reason why people simply leave before they are examined by the physicians are the long queues. People are impatient at times and long queues can wind them up. Sometimes after seeing a triage nurse, some people are told that they will have to wait for up to 2 hours before receiving treatment and this makes them lose their cool and walk away.

Change of heart

Another peculiar reason why some people end up walking away from Emergency Rooms is a sudden change of heart. People just make up their minds not to see the physician having waited in line for some time. The exact explanation to this behaviour is not known but it is attributed to the gloomy atmosphere in most ERs.

So, having known why people end up leaving the emergency room without treatment, what happens to these people once they walk away? Are they charged? Is it dangerous in any way?

Well, depending on the facility that the patient went to, he may or may not be charged. I will use our own facility at Bellaire Emergency Room to explain what happens in most cases. If the patient walks away after being triaged by a nurse but does not see a physician on any other specialist, then we will only levy charges of triage. The physician will however not charge the patient even if he was supposed to be served next before he bolted. So long as the patient checked into the facility, was booked and was triaged, he/she will have to pay for the efforts and time spent by the nurses to triage him.

Some other facilities are lenient enough to let such patients walk scot-free. Even after being triaged, they are still left to go and will not be charged. Such emergency rooms are however very few and although they will not charge you, they highly prohibit such habits. They will sometimes levy a penalty on you if you are a repeat offender; leaving more than once before being seen. So, it is wise to walk away even if you have a valid reason?

Well, sometimes you may need to answer to another call somewhere, maybe there is an emergency at home that you need to attend or something of that sort. The best thing to do, is to talk to the triage nurse or the supervisor on duty and explain your situation. If possible, they will reschedule your visit if they feel that you are not in any imminent danger. If you are in a critical condition though, they will not let you walk away before you can see a physician.

Never walk away before you can see a physician. It not only is a health risk but can compromise with your insurance. Look, if the facility reports you to your insurance provider, they may refuse to pay for the triage fee and this can be inconveniencing. It is wise to wait until you are attended to before you can think about walking away.

What happens in emergency rooms

What Happens in Emergency Rooms

15 Mar 2017 General Health

The other day I was watching a movie with a friend and we were laughing at how it is that movies have made people believe that emergency rooms are meant for people suffering from gunshots, accidents and other scary injuries. Having both worked in an emergency room, we couldn’t help but laugh at the picture the action movie was depicting of the emergency room. I personally was not impressed by what I saw. AS much as the scenes were horrific and pretty scary, I was not moved at all because I know too much about emergency rooms to cringe at the sight of blood gushing down from an open wound.

I am not saying that such medical cases are not available in the emergency rooms but I strongly condemn the idea that emergency rooms are for people who have had accidents and other nasty injuries. Emergency rooms are like any hospital and will help treat you from the most minor illnesses to serious conditions like heart attacks. In this article, I want to give you an insight into what it is that actually goes on in an emergency room. Here are 10 things that happen in a typical emergency room;

1. Screening

An emergency room physician or nurse will conduct thorough screening to screening to understand the problem bothering you. Through a series of questions and medical examinations, he/she is able to tell what it is that is wrong with you and understand the reason for your visit.

2. Previous medical reports check

If you are in a critical condition and cannot communicate well, the physicians will take a look at your past medical records to understand your medical history before administering any form of treatment. If you were brought by a family member, the nurses will solicit for information on your medical history.

3. Further tests

Depending on what it is that you are suffering from, there are further tests that may be required to further understand you problem. X-rays, blood tests, CT scans, Ultrasounds and many other medical tests will be used to come up with a conclusive report on what it is that you are ailing from.

4. Actual treatment

After determining what exactly it is that is bothering you, the physician will then administer the most appropriate treatment. If you need tablets to curb the flu, the physician will prescribe the same. Sometimes you are required to get a few injections or intravenous fluids to help sort out your discomfort.

5. Minor surgeries

In some cases, when you have minor injuries, you might require some minor surgeries and emergency rooms are equipped to facilitate the same. People who have been involved in accident can be operated on right in the emergency room and in case there is need for further reconstructive surgery, you will be referred to another hospital.

6. Consultation

Sometimes, people come to the emergency rooms with mere suspicions and don’t require any form of treatment. If you have any problem niggling you, feel free to always go to an emergency room and consult the doctor on the same issue. You will get more information on possible problems and if the physician finds any need to treat you, he will do so.

7. Referral to other facilities

In an emergency room, you can be referred to other medical institutions for further treatment and possible hospitalization. If a physician deems your medical condition critical, he/she will do everything possible to limit any damage while making a call on the best possible hospital nearby for you to be transferred to. Although most emergency rooms are well equipped, they most of the time don’t have every facility and all the required specialists to warrant comprehensive treatment. They therefore will do everything possible to make you comfortable and then send you out to the hospital for more treatment.

8. Presentation of your medical report

At the end of the ER visit, the physicians or the nurses will take time to inform you of your medical diagnosis and offer treatment recommendations. Your recommendations will be for discharge from the ER, admission to a specific specialty area of the hospital, or transfer to a medical facility best suited to care for your specific health need. Even without treatment, the physician can offer free advice on how you should go about your problem to avoid any further problems.

10. Platform to talk to a professional

Although this is not common in most emergency rooms, some ERs offer a platform for you to talk to a law enforcement, a lawyer, psychiatrist or any other related professional meant to help you recover from your ailment. These are appropriate for people who suffer from misfortunes like rape or attempted suicide. They are given time and a platform to talk to these people and explain what it is that is bothering them.

These are some of the most notable things that take place in emergency rooms. We will not go into details concerning the treatment procedures and the exact steps taken. The aim of the article was to demystify the thought that the emergency rooms are meant for people suffering from trauma and related injuries.

Top 10 Emergency Rooms in Houston

Top 10 Emergency Rooms in Houston

When looking for the best emergency room to go to for your medical problems, there are a few factors that you have to take into consideration. You want an emergency room which is well equipped and is staffed with qualified medical practitioners with numerous years of experience. You want an emergency room close enough to your place of work or your home because come the hour when you need urgent medical attention, you want to get to the emergency room in the shortest time possible. You also have to consider the payment modes accepted and the insurances they accept. Looking at these aforementioned factors together with the reputation of the specific emergency room will help you get the best possible options.

There are a good number of emergency rooms in Houston Texas and we have reviewed some of the best. If you are in and around Houston Texas, here are the top 10 emergency rooms that you should definitely ring during that emergency;

1. Bellaire Emergency Room

Bellaire Emergency is undoubtedly the best emergency room not just in Houston but probably in the larger Texas area. The well-equipped facility is operated by some of the best medical practitioners and physicians with numerous years of experience in the field. They have a quick response team and staffed enough to serve as many patients in the shortest time possible. They accept most of the insurance covers and offer other alternative flexible payment plans. If you are in Houston and want the best emergency room for you and your family, then Bellaire is undoubtedly your best option.

2. Baylor St. Luke’s Emergency Room

Located in Texas Medical Centre, this emergency room is staffed by certified emergency physicians and has first class equipment and facilities. They accept most insurance companies and have a clean record as far as service delivery is concerned.

3. Sacred Heart Emergency Room

They rank highly in the list of the best emergency rooms in Houston largely because they have one of the quickest response times in the area. Their facility is not as big but it is well-equipped and staffed by long time professionals who work around the clock to ensure that you have the best possible medical service.

4. Park Plaza Emergency Room

I live close to this emergency room and have visited them a couple of times in the past. They have great facilities and equipment and their office space is large enough to hold as many as 100 patients at once. Their insurance acceptance is somewhat limited but they accept most of the major insurances. They are a good option to consider as well.

5. Methodist Hospital Emergency Room

They offer quick response emergency services in the larger Texas area and they are very efficient in service delivery. Their fleet of ambulances come in handy when picking up patients but it is also their undoing because sometimes the number of patients supersedes the number of physicians. They are however excellent and offer affordable services.

7. SignatureCare Emergency Centre

Open 24 hours, SignatureCare is one of the best emergency rooms in Houston. They are well staffed by some of the most experienced physicians in America and have scooped up numerous awards in the past for quick responses. They accept most insurances in the area and offer flexible payment plans for the uninsured.

8. Memorial Heights Emergency Room

One of the oldest emergency centres in Houston, Memorial Heights is well known for their quick response and quick service times. The facility and office space may be small but the dedication and hard work of the staff members make up for the lack of space. Whether you are insured or not, you will always receive the best possible treatment when you need it most.

9. First Choice Emergency Rooms

Equipped with arguably the latest equipment and facilities, First Choice Emergency Room have embraced the use of technology in their day to day service delivery. Located in the heart of Houston, they are slowly growing to be one of the best modern day emergency rooms in the area. They accept most of the available insurances and offer other payment options for the uninsured. Their young and vibrant nurses and physicians will serve you in the shortest time possible. They are one to consider if you are in an emergency.

10. Clear Lake Regional Medical Emergency Room

The well-equipped facility at Clear Lake, is operated by some of the best medical practitioners and physicians with numerous years of experience in the field. They accept most of the insurance covers and offer other alternative flexible payment plans. They have partnered with other ambulance service providers and therefore have quick response times to help them get to you during an emergency. They are open 24 hours and are worth considering if you are in an emergency in the Houston area.

Things emergency rooms will not tell you

Things Emergency Rooms Will Not Tell You

15 Mar 2017 General Health

As a patient in an emergency room, there are things that doctors will not tell which in fact can help save your life, money and even time. Here are 25 things that emergency rooms won’t tell you but are absolutely vital;

Don’t call us for a minor bruise please

The person on the other end will never tell you this directly but in real sense, they don’t want you to call the ER for such a minor thing. You are only helping to clog the system and take away precious time that would otherwise have been used to save another patient.

Never hang up on us

If possible, never hang up on an emergency respondent when you call in. There are people who call in to explain their problems and end up hanging the phone before the respondent can give you instructions. Always hang in there until we clear you or medical aiders arrive on the scene.

If you are stable, please come on your own

If you have something small niggling you but are in a stable condition, please don’t ask us to get an ambulance all the way to your place. That’s a waste of time and resources which would otherwise have been used elsewhere.

We care about you as well

Doctors will never tell you but they actually care about you more than you think. They have feelings as well and will be touched by your tears and pain. They will only act tough because they don’t want you to freak out because you think they are hurt as well. Doctors care about you more than you think.

Learn to say a simple thank you
As much as you are paying for the service, please find it within yourself to appreciate the effort of the nurses and doctors. It costs nothing but goes a long way in making the doctor feel appreciated. Be nice!

We don’t enjoy keeping you in line

Doctors and nurses don’t enjoy keeping you in the line. When they keep you waiting, it means that they are sure that you are not going to die and are most probably attending to someone who needs more urgent care.

Be attentive and cooperative

A doctor in an emergency room will never ask you to cooperate but they really want you to be as attentive and cooperative as you can. They know the benefits of everything they tell you and you need to follow what they tell you.

Take a rest means take a rest

If a doctor asks you to stay in bed and take a rest, he means it. He won’t insist on it but really.

We don’t trust you 100%

As much as you think that the doctor believes you 100%, they actually don’t. They know how cunning we humans can be and they know that we sometimes lie to get away from realities. It is however advisable to always tell the truth when you can.

We always try our best

Sometimes patients feel like the doctors don’t do enough to ensure that they are safe. Trust me when I tell you that doctors can only do so much. They want the best for you and will do all that is in their power to ensure safe treatment.

Open up

The best way to ensure that you get the right treatment, you need to open up and speak up. Never hide anything from us, every detail is important in ensuring that we administer the right medical care.

We don’t enjoy treating you for the same problem twice

The other thing that you will never hear from your doctor is the fact that they don’t want you back for the same problem they treated you for earlier. It only shows how reckless you are and you don’t heed to advice.

Call from a landline

Calling from a landline can save your life because we can pinpoint your location instantly. If you call from a cell phone, we waste a lot of time asking where you are or searching for you.

Come in the morning if you can

You think doctors enjoy working late in the night? They don’t! They won’t tell you that but they actually want you to come to the emergency room in the morning when they are fresh and the place is not as busy. Unless it is an inevitable emergency, make a point of coming in the morning.

Vomit and we will attend to you immediately

Yes, this is hilarious but it is true. However long the queue may be, the moment you start vomiting in the waiting area, you will be jumped the queue and be given immediate attention. It is a dirty way but it works most of the time.

We want you gone as soon as possible

We also enjoy quick turnover. We want to ensure that you are treated and discharged as soon as it is possible.

Come with an ID and a family member

For better identity and medical history come with a family member and carry an id.

Follow protocol in the ER

Don’t come around knocking on the physician’s door. Wait in line and you will be duly served.

Honesty

It is not wrong to get an STD or some embarrassing disease. Be honest and we will give you the best possible treatment.

Secrets ER Insiders Know- And You Should Too

Secrets ER Insiders Know- And You Should Too

15 Mar 2017 General Health

There are a lot of people who have no idea of what it is that goes on inside emergency rooms. When they have to finally visit an emergency room, they are left frustrated and confused because they have absolutely no idea of what to do. I have worked with Bellaire Emergency Room for close to ten years now and during this time, I have learned all the secrets and hacks that will help you have a smoother time in an emergency room.

I want to share some of the secrets that the emergency rooms don’t want you to know but you need to know them. These are things that the medical practitioners will simply not tell you but you need to know them because they will make your life easier and the whole experience of visiting the emergency room better. Here are the secrets Emergency Room insiders don’t know- and you should too;

Call your doctor before coming to the ER-it makes it look more urgent

This is a hack that will help you bypass the queues at the ER. If a physician receives a call from your doctor explaining the urgency of your situation, he/she can pave the way for your arrival.

Be brutally honest

Whether it is pus coming from your anal area or blood in your semen, you should never lie about your medical condition. Tell the truth as it will help you receive the appropriate treatment. If you are not comfortable speaking to a doctor, talk to a relative and let him/her do the hard explaining for you.

Be precise in your explanation

Doctors and physicians are only human. They will therefore understand you better if you keep your explanation short and precise. Don’t beat around the bush, just say things the way they are and you will get quick treatment.

Learn to say a simple thank you

As much as you are paying for the service, please find it within yourself to appreciate the effort of the nurses and doctors. It costs nothing but goes a long way in making the doctor feel appreciated. Be nice!

There is no shame in crying when it is painful

If it is painful, there is no shame in squeaking and probably crying. Doctors understand that pain is real and they are not surprised when patients end up breaking into tears because they can’t bear with the tears.

Talk to someone

To help reduce frustration while waiting for treatment, it is advisable to talk to the social worker on duty or the triage nurse. A good conversation not only helps you settle down but will help you avoid frustrations when waiting in line.

Come with a family member or a friend

People who are accompanied by their friends and family members are likely to get better and quicker service as the family members will on hand to provide any information needed and probably help to move you around. If you can, always come with a friend or a family member.

NEVER yell at a medical practitioner

However long you wait in line, never ever yell at a medical practitioner in the ER. Screaming because you feel neglected or forgotten will not help you get quick service. Always ask kindly and wait in line.

Be patient

When you visit the emergency room at the peak hours and your condition is not as urgent, you will have to be patient. You might end up waiting for more than an hour at times and if you are not patient you might get yourself worked up and want to leave without treatment.

ERs and physicians care about you as well

Doctors will never tell you but they actually care about you more than you think. They have feelings as well and will be touched by your tears and pain. They will only act tough because they don’t want you to freak out because you think they are hurt as well. Doctors care about you more than you think.

We don’t enjoy keeping you in line

Doctors and nurses don’t enjoy keeping you in the line. When they keep you waiting, it means that they are sure that you are not going to die and are most probably attending to someone who needs more urgent care.

Be attentive and cooperative

A doctor in an emergency room will never ask you to cooperate but they really want you to be as attentive and cooperative as you can. They know the benefits of everything they tell you and you need to follow what they tell you.

Conduct a little research on ER Protocols

If you can, please take time and do a little homework on what it is that happens in emergency rooms. Understanding the protocols will help you manoeuvre easily in the emergency room and get to the right places easily.

Make sure you have all the information required

Ensure that you have all the information that the physicians are likely to ask for. Medical information and past records will help the physicians administer better treatment.

Memorize the names of the assigned nurses and physicians

Make sure you know the name of the assigned physician, charge nurse and the shift’s attending physician. These are the people responsible for your treatment and you need to know where they are. Ask after them and make sure they have not forgotten about you.

Leaving the ER Without Being Discharged

Leaving the ER Without Being Discharged

Thinking of Leaving the Hospital Before You Are Discharged? Do So at Your Own Risk

I have worked with Bellaire Emergency Room for quite some time now and one worrying trend that I realized during my time is that of patients walking out of treatment before they can actually be discharged by the doctors. I knew that this was not a problem in our emergency room alone and sought to find out some numbers concerning this issue. I conducted a small research and the figures are quite astonishing to say the least.

In the year 2015, over 500,000 people left before discharge which is almost a 45% increase when compared to the number of people who walked out of the emergency rooms before treatment and discharge in 2010. This is a worrying trend that needs to be addressed and today I want to sensitize people on the same issue. I want to take a look at some of the most common reasons cited for walking away from the said institutions and then look at the effects of leaving the emergency room before you are actually discharged by a doctor.

The most common reasons cited for people walking from treatments midway include;

1. Impatience – emergency room waiting times are increasing as a struggling economy forces hospitals to close and more people to lose the health care coverage that would have allowed them to be examined by a primary care physician in a less-hurried setting; many patients get tired of waiting and choose to leave without receiving proper care. Sometimes people leave before they are attended to by all the relevant medical practitioners. They lose interest because they are forced to wait for too long before they can be attended to.

2. Poor quality care- Some people walk away because they deem the quality of service poor. I am sure that is not a problem here at Bellaire because I am 100% convinced about the quality of services offered here at Bellaire. People cited poor service delivery and sluggish staff in other emergency rooms and ended up leaving before receiving the required medical care.

3. Financial constraints – The third issue and the one I deemed more pertinent was the financial constraints. Patients without comprehensive health insurance may fear the costs associated with prolonged hospitalization or invasive tests. They can maybe manage to pay for the first few treatments but with time they realize that the bills accrued are beyond their prowess and they end up leaving before being discharged.

Is it wise to walk away before being discharged?

The idea leaving the emergency room before receiving the required medical attention should not even cross your mind. Patients who leave without waiting for vital test results could be putting their very lives on the line. Furthermore, if a patient is correct about their assumption that their treating physician is not providing them with high-quality care, they could jeopardize their right to bring a claim of medical negligence by leaving without being discharged. If you feel like the medical practitioner is offering subpar service, just write a complaint or air your grievances to the authorities. Leaving before reporting the cases will be wrong because you have left a loophole in the system which can prove costly in the end.

If you leave midway through the treatment and end up developing complications, you will not have a case against the emergency room or the parent hospital. Even the most skilled medical malpractice attorney might not be able to help if a patient clearly contributed to his or her injuries by leaving in spite of adequate warnings by health care providers, so any decision to leave against medical advice must be carefully weighed. Think twice about leaving midway through the treatment, you might even end up on the wrong side of law.

If you are insured, you might also risk losing insurance cover by walking out before the doctor writes you a discharge order. Most insurance companies will not pay even for the first few treatments that you had already received. This is deemed as an AMA (against medical advice) ad it favours the insurance in case you decide to follow up on the payment they did not make. If you want to lose your insurance cover, then walk out before being discharged.

So, what should you do instead? What is the best solution? Should you bear with the poor service you are receiving?

If you feel like you are not getting proper medical care in an emergency room, ask to speak with a supervisor. Many hospital facilities also employ patient care advocates who might be able to help you express your concerns to the treating physician in a way that will result in better care. For the purposes of preserving a possible medical negligence claim, it is important that you exhaust as many grievance methods as possible before choosing to discharge yourself.

At the end of the day, it is about you and your life. Never think about discharging yourself unless there is no ay other viable alternative.

How Long Are Patients Willing to Wait in Line Before Leaving

How Long Are Patients Willing to Wait in Line Before Leaving

15 Mar 2017 Health Care

I have always said it that waiting in line to receive a service is one of the most unnerving things. Emergency rooms are not any different. People waiting in line to receive a service tend to grow impatient sometimes and when the frustrations overwhelm their patience levels, they simply leave even without being seen. We sought to find out why it is that people are willing to leave emergency rooms without being seen. Here is a short report on our findings.

We have been observing emergency room trends from late 2013 and we noticed something which is undoubtedly worrying. There has been a steady increase in the number of emergency room visitors since 2013. Actually according to our research, there has been a 15% increase from 2013 to 2016. In three years, there has been an increase of about 15 million visitors and with the number of emergency rooms pretty much the same, it only means that there has been increased pressure on the emergency rooms. This means that there has been a drastic increase in the number of hours that people have to wait for in line before they are served. This is where the friction starts to build now. Not all people are waiting to wait in line for too long before they can receive treatment. There are those who are patient enough to wait, but not for too long. So we sought to find out how long patients are willing to wait in the emergency department before leaving without being seen.

The average waiting time in a typical emergency room in America is about 37 minutes during off peak hours but the same can stretch up to 3 hours during the peak hours. Yes, you might have to sit in an emergency room for upto 3 hours without being seen. According to a recent study, 65% of all medical emergency room visitors in America are only willing to wait to in line for upto 2 hours before leaving without being seen. Another 25% are willing to give it another half hour before they can finally call it quits and go away unattended to. The other percentage are the resilient people who are willing to wait until it is their turn to get service. Here are some of the factors which contribute greatly to increased numbers of people walking away without being seen;

Medical Condition and Triage

Emergency departments are places that have waves of people coming in by ambulance, by private car, on foot, and, in some cases, by helicopter. These people have all kinds of problems with all levels of severity. The severity of your medical condition will therefore have an effect on the priority you will get from the doctors in the emergency room. Using triage, the doctors are able to assign priorities to medical emergencies depending on the urgency of the condition.

In America, priority is given to more serious and life threatening conditions like trauma and heart attacks. When people are in such conditions, the facility always strives to ensure that they attend to them first before they can think about the other conditions like headaches and sneezing. This does not mean that the other ailments are not treated with seriousness, no, every patient has a right to be treated but following triage, you will have to bear with a little waiting in line if your condition is not as severe. People whose conditions are not deemed as urgent are therefore given more waiting time and will most likely walk away before they are examined by the physicians. Those whose conditions were deemed to be of higher acuity were among the 35% that was willing to wait past the 2 hour mark to receive attention. This disconnect might have been due in part to conveyance to the patient by the triage nurse, purposeful or not, as to the level of severity of his/her presenting illness. This might have influenced the patient’s decision. Interestingly, we did not find the same willingness to wait among patients who classified themselves as being in severe discomfort and/or having a high level of concern for their symptoms.

Doctor: Patient Ration

The other thing that will affect the amount of time that you will have to wait before receiving medical attention in an emergency room, is the ratio of medical practitioners to the number of patients. In most emergency rooms, the number of patients overwhelms the number of doctors. This means that the patients have to wait for longer before seeing the doctor. When this happens, some people will snap midway through the wait and walk away even before they are seen by the doctors.

In conclusion, it is important to note that high numbers of patients walking away without being seen should be worrying. Worrying because some people end up leaving with serious medical conditions which prove to be detrimental in the end. The high numbers also make people lose faith in service offered in emergency rooms. Emergency rooms should therefore put measures in place to ensure that they reduce the number of hours that people have to wait in line before getting a service.

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