Taking Action in Choosing your Health Care
Your treating physician has told you that you can go home now after a stay in the hospital, but you will need follow-up outpatient care to maintain and monitor your condition. You’ve been diagnosed with cancer or need to have surgery, physiotherapy, or X-rays taken. Your insurance company has said they will no longer pay for in-hospital treatment, but you still need access to regular medical treatment. Any one of these – and many other scenarios – could mean investigating the option of transitory or “outpatient” medical care.
Over 88 million people a year in the United States seek medical treatment from an outpatient treatment center. And this trend is being observed world-wide as societies turn from an expensive hospital-centered method of health care delivery to more cost-effective, outpatient-clinic-centered medical care.
Once you’ve looked at all the transitory health care facility options around you, and you’ve considered all the feedback you’ve gleaned from websites and health agencies and family and friends, verified with your insurance company which facilities and treatment they will cover and you’ve toured the facilities, you may already have a fairly good idea which center you will be going with. But there are still many things to consider.
Outpatient Care Verification Checklist
These questions are not necessarily in order of importance or priority.
1) What is the center’s access to emergency equipment? (for example, anesthesia or birth complications).
2) Does the center provide follow-up care to your procedure, surgery or test? Where do you go or whom do you contact if an issue comes up after regular business hours?
3) Does the center communicate with your family physician or other involved medical treatment providers? How will they communicate with other doctors? (for example, test results, progress reports, changes in medication, new recommended treatments).
4) Is the facility accredited to provide the kind of service you need?
5) Does the facility accept your health insurance, HMO or PPO coverage?