Your Emergency Care Visit
Every patient presenting to the Emergency Department is evaluated immediately by our Triage Nurse using a nationally validated five point triage scale. In order to maintain thorough and accurate records, some questions must be asked prior to treatment. In the event that care is required immediately, these questions will be asked later or we may query a relative who accompanied you. Some questions are required by law and other questions may seem unimportant to you, but may be important in evaluating your condition, diagnosing the problem, and instituting the proper treatment.
Emergent treatment will never be delayed for paperwork, nor will financial situations keep you from receiving treatment in acute care emergencies. Your consent for treatment is required.
What family and friends can do to help
Family and friends accompanying a patient can play an important role in their care. We recognize the anxiety that an emergency creates, but your efforts will help us do the best for your loved one. Try to be calm and cooperative and answer all questions fully. Be patient with the staff. Waiting is sometimes necessary while we assess what is really happening with the patient. We will try to have you spend time with your loved one when appropriate, but it is important to be as quiet as possible when in the examination areas. Of course the privacy & confidentiality of other patients must be respected as well. Do not block emergency entrances with your car. Once the patient has been delivered, please move your car to an adjacent parking area.
Occasionally, you will be asked to wait in the waiting area or examining room for a physician or for the results of x-rays or lab tests. While you are waiting, you will be asked not to eat or drink anything without first consulting your nurse or doctor. We will try to keep you informed of the reason for any extensive waiting period.
While you are a patient in the Emergency Department, you will be evaluated and cared for by a variety of professionals who work as a team to provide you with the best possible care. We will provide you with as much privacy as possible and, within legal constraints, everything between you and your nurse and physician will be confidential. The process of evaluation and treatment in emergency situations can be very confusing and frightening so please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. All of your questions are important.
Charges for emergency care cover the cost of maintaining a fully staffed and fully equipped facility in order to provide 24-hour emergency service. The charge you receive will vary with the level of care provided. Lab tests, x-rays, medications and other supplies will generate additional charges if they are required. A separate bill may also come to you from your private physician, any consultants, and/or the radiologist if their services are necessary.
Insurance coverage for emergency department services varies according to policy type. Be sure to review your policy so you know what is covered in an emergency department visit. Individuals who are members of a managed care insurer should notify their insurance company immediately following their visit to the Emergency Department. Typically, there is a co-payment for use of Emergency Services. If you have a question before coming to the Emergency Care Center and if you feel you have the time, please contact your primary care physician first. He/she will direct to appropriate place for services.
Charges for the Observation Unit are based on the actual time you spend in the unit. By operating on an hourly basis, the Observation Unit can usually provide more cost effective care than an admission to the hospital where you are charged by the day.
When you leave
After you have been treated in the Emergency Department, you will receive printed instructions for follow-up care which your nurse or provider will review with you. Be prepared to follow them carefully, and don't hesitate to ask questions if any of the instructions are unclear. You may also be advised to have a further examination by your private physician. If you do not have your own physician, the staff in the Emergency Department will assist you with follow-up arrangements. Remember, this is only an emergency visit and your primary care physician knows you best.