February 15, 2017

Helpful Healthcare Hints: Four Ways to Save Time and Money When You’re Sick

shutterstock-piggy-bank-clock-bandaidWe’ve reached that time of the year when it’s like Halloween for germs, viruses, bugs and allergies to sneak up on every individual they can find and play their nasty tricks on your immune system. One minute you’re feeling great and the next minute you’re hoping for a visit from the Grim Reaper.

Reaching that point of sickness when grandma’s homemade cure-all just isn’t working can quickly rack up the medical bills, depending on the size of your family. At Mission Health, our commitment to the communities we serve is to help you be well, get well and stay well.

Delivering on this promise, we have four helpful hints that can save you both time and money if illness invades your home:

  1. Don’t wait to see a doctor. If your symptoms last longer than 48 hours and don’t seem to be improving it is always best to visit a primary care physician in the earliest stage of your sickness when you and your doctor have the greatest opportunity to fight back against the germs/virus by following a formal plan of care, which may or may not include medication, rest and/or dietary supplements. Mission Health provides access to more than 29 primary care practices (family medicine and internal medicine) available to help you and your family quickly get on that road to recovery. With locations available all across western North Carolina, Mission Health can help you with immediate access to a physician conveniently located near where you work and live when you aren’t feeling well, but your symptoms are not related to a serious injury and/or life threatening condition. Establishing service or a “medical home” with a provider with whom you feel you really relate greatly enhances the convenience of your care by creating consistency with a professional who can monitor your overall health, maintains one comprehensive medical record, manages your medications and overall wellness plan and is significantly less expensive than a visit to the Emergency Department. If you would like to make a same-day appointment with a Mission Health primary care physician, visit our primary care web page to contact one of our offices and our team will be happy to assist you.
  2. Primary care is available in multiple forms. Many times those unpleasant symptoms associated with common illnesses like a sinus infection, the flu or a random stomach bug can quickly intensify and result in additional health complications we definitely want to avoid. In these situations more immediate physician intervention at a walk-in clinic is best. Mission My Care Now has four locations in WNC: Mission My Care Now Biltmore Park in Arden – Seven days a week, 7 am – 10 pm; Mission My Care Now McDowell in Marion – Seven days a week, 7 am – 10 pm; Mission My Care Now Blue Ridge in Spruce Pine – Monday through Friday, 7 am – 7 pm and Saturdays, 9 am – 4 pm; and Mission My Care Now Angel in Franklin – Monday through Friday, 8:30 am – 5:30 pm, Saturdays, 8 am – noon and Sundays, 10 am – 2 pm.
  3. Sometimes over-the-counter assistance is the best medicine. There are always times when you’re not feeling well and you question whether or not going to the doctor is really necessary. Unfortunately, there are some common viruses, like a regular cold, that even the best primary care physicians in the world can’t cure with a prescription.When suffering from seasonal allergies, a common cold or similar condition the best advice you can receive is from your pharmacist. He or she can explain to you the differences between over-the-counter medications and based on your personal symptoms make a recommendation on the best option for you. Their knowledge of not only the medication but also the potential side effects and contra-indications between over-the counter medicine and prescribed medications is not only helpful, but can be life-saving. Mission Health offers numerous pharmacy locations throughout the area happy to assist you with your non-prescription and prescription needs at very competitive prices and/or always glad to offer education and recommendations on both types of medications. No appointment required. To view a list of our pharmacy locations, click here.
  4.  Is urgent really emergent? No one wants to feel bad any longer than absolutely necessary and when symptoms like vomiting appear to escalate and/or seem uncontrollable it is human nature for our worry level – as well as that of our loved ones – to escalate just as fast and believe that the best mode of care is through the Emergency Department. Not being doctors, we can’t properly diagnose ourselves and understanding when it is best to use the Emergency Department isn’t always clear.In general, the Emergency Department is most appropriate for accidents involving broken/fractured bones, head/neck/spine injuries, wounds resulting in a large amount of blood loss, chest pain, signs of a possible stroke, trauma or various other life threatening injuries. If you believe you are in a situation requiring emergency care it is always best to call 911 and request an ambulance. Paramedics are specially trained and can quickly assess the severity of your condition and make the appropriate decisions on the level of care best for you. Additionally, it is important to note that if you choose to go to the Emergency Department for care you will be immediately assessed upon arrival and the order in which you are seen is based on the seriousness of your condition. A high pain level may not mean that you are immediately seen. Patients presenting with signs of potential heart attacks, strokes and severe wounds are always seen first, which may extend your wait time longer than desired. It is also important to know that due to the more advanced level of care provided through an Emergency Department your co-pay and/or co-insurance will be higher than a visit to a primary care physician or immediate/urgent care center and almost always, you will be directed to follow-up with your regular doctor after your visit. Mission Health offers 24/7 access to our Emergency Departments at every full-service facility in our system: Angel Medical Center, Highlands-Cashiers Hospital, Transylvania Regional Hospital, Mission Hospital, McDowell Hospital and Blue Ridge Regional Hospital. Every patient who visits one of our Emergency Departments will be provided expert medical care as quickly and efficiently as possible. But, before immediately heading to the closest Emergency Department evaluate your symptoms to determine if they are truly emergent and always feel comfortable contacting your primary care doctor for their expert guidance if you’re unsure. For more information on when it is best to utilize an Emergency Department, listen to our free podcast here.

Still not feeling up to leaving the bed? Sometimes, all you really need may be rest, fluids and, perhaps, some of grandma’s chicken noodle soup. At those times, laughter may be the best medicine.