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6 months ago

Look Inside Young Adult Road Map

2 Guiding Star Point

2 Guiding Star Point Two: Learn System Basics Where to Get Medical Care: Consider Your Choices Where you go for medical help often depends on where you are, the time of day, and what you need. This is an important decision for many young adults as they switch from pediatric (children’s) services to adult services or start to pay for their own insurance and medical care. For example, if your job or sports team requires a physical (an examination of your general health) or a drug screening examination (a test to see if you have illegal substances in your body), you may not need to go to a regular physician’s office. If you get sick during the weekend when that office is closed, there are other options besides a hospital emergency room. If you need a flu shot, the doctor’s office may not be your least expensive choice. Here are some of the main choices and considerations for each choice: Looks like they’re super busy...good thing I booked online. Medical Care Choice “Convenient care” clinics in pharmacies l See “Get to Know Your Pharmacist” in Guiding Star Point Four: Manage Information, page 49, for more tips on how pharmacies can help you keep track of medications. What this choice offers These services can be used on a “walk-in” basis or (in many cases) by appointment. They can be used for drug testing, flu shots, and physicals for work or other activities. Most are open on nights and weekends (but be sure to call or check the store’s website). Some clinics allow you to book appointments online. Some systems will automatically text you when you are getting close to the front of the “line” for your appointment, so you won’t need to hang around the building. Most convenient care clinics take all major insurance plans, though you may have a co-pay. What to consider The staff may not have access to your records. You may have to fill in a lot of blanks for the staff. Be sure to take your records. If you use these services more than once, try to use the same pharmacy clinic so they keep your records in their system. Even so, you will need to bring your insurance card and ID every time. NOTE: The walk-in clinic will not have your medication records, even if you use that pharmacy to fill your prescriptions. It is a different system. TAKE YOUR RECORDS. Health clinic/Health center/ Wellness center at a college or university you attend Services usually cost no additional fees (outside of your student fees) or are low-cost. This could be a good option for getting an annual flu shot. If you live on campus, this may be the most convenient option if you suddenly feel sick. Campus clinics may also refer you to other services, such as mental health counseling (if these are not provided on campus). Services may be limited. You may have no choice about which providers you can use. Hours may be limited, especially on smaller campuses. You may have long waiting times for some services during busy times of the year. Check your campus website to see if it’s possible to make an appointment online. 26

Medical Care Choice Urgent Care (“Walk-In”) clinics Regular visits to a family practice physician Free clinic run by community organizations and medical/ dental schools Nurse practitioner at your family practice office Emergency room What this choice offers These services can be used by walk-in or appointment for non-life-threatening emergencies. They can be used for drug testing and physicals for work or other activities. Many clinics now have equipment for routine X-rays and other tests for injuries. You can see a provider outside of typical business hours. For some walk-in clinics, you can go online to view the types of treatments offered. Walk-in clinics may take your insurance (though you may have a co-pay). You can form a working relationship with the physician or nurse practitioner in a family practice. This practice may take your insurance (though you may have a co-pay). Many practices are in hospitals and will send you to a clinic in the hospital for drug screening and other blood or urine tests. Free treatment, or low-cost treatment (based on your ability to pay). Some clinics offer special services that may not be included in many plans, such as vision and dental services. It is often easier to get an appointment with a nurse practitioner. The nurse practitioner can prescribe medications. You can form a working relationship with the nurse practitioner. The nurse practitioner may work in a practice that will take your insurance plan (be sure to check beforehand). The nurse practitioner may be able to take more time with you than a physician can. This service should only be used for a lifethreatening emergency or possible major injury (for example, you have been in a car accident and it is not clear if you are seriously injured). Emergency rooms may take your insurance (though you may have a co-pay). What to consider The staff may not have access to your records. You may have to fill in a lot of blanks for the staff. You may have to wait a long time, depending upon the number of people ahead of you and the severity of yours and their situations. However, many clinics now allow you to book appointments online. It may be difficult to get an appointment with the physician for times that work for you and your schedule. If you change insurance plans, check to make sure the practice still takes that insurance and you can afford any co-pay. Services and hours of operation may be limited. You may have no choice of providers. Services may be offered by less experienced providers, especially at medical/dental schools (although they are supervised by more experienced providers). The nurse practitioner is probably not available at night or on weekends. If you suddenly feel sick, you may want to go to a walk-in clinic instead. Certain ailments, like influenza virus (“the flu”) can be treated more effectively if you get medical help right away. This service can be very expensive. You may sit in a crowded waiting room a long time on busy nights. You have very little control over what services you receive (because you will sign a form agreeing to pay each health provider separately, such as the X-ray tech, doctor, lab tech—before you are given any services). Afterwards, you will probably get bills from multiple providers. Your insurance plan may have a “cap” (maximum amount) it will pay for a visit to an emergency room. 27