As you may know by now, a large part of smartER is learning the where of health care.
But, there’s more to it than just that.
Chances are you’ve been in a situation where you or a family member got hurt or sick and needed medical care. If so, did you know what to do? Or where to go? Did you stop and think about the best place for care before grabbing the car keys and heading straight to the emergency room?
Using the ER for situations other than an emergency could mean a long wait, added costs and the risk of additional diagnostic testing for you or a family member.
Sometimes the shock of surprise can hinder your judgment of what to do and where to go. Knowing that, it’s best to be prepared before the next injury or illness, major or minor, strikes.
Here are four things you can do to help you practice smartER and prepare.
1. Choose a primary care doctor. If you don’t have one, visit bcbsm.com, choose one and make an appointment. There are many benefits to having a primary doctor. He or she will:
• Become familiar with you and your family’s health histories since they have access to your medical records
• Develop a relationship based on trust and confidence
• Determine if your body is physically fit enough for vigorous activities
• Suggest follow-up care and determine what’s best for your long-term health
• Inform you about flexible hours, including same-day appointments and after-hours policies
2. Have contact information handy. You and your family should make a list that includes:
• The name and phone number of you and your spouse’s primary doctor — if they’re different — and pediatrician if you have children
• The location of the nearest urgent care centers, their phone numbers, hours of operation and if they’re in-network
• The nearest ER, in case of severe or life-threatening injuries or illness
3. Understand the best use of your primary doctor, urgent care centers and the ER.
• Your doctor is at the center of your health. He or she is the best place to start for minor care and is best suited to manage your chronic conditions.
• Urgent care centers can help if your doctor isn’t available, or it’s after hours and you need quick, nonemergent medical attention.
• The ER treats severe and life-threatening conditions. You should go to the ER or call 911 when:
o Your health or life is in danger
o Your bodily functions may be severely damaged
o An organ or part of your body may not work properly again
4. If you are a Blues member, save these two phone numbers in your cell phone. Blues members can speak to a nurse for free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They can help you decide the best location for care of your current condition if you’re not sure where to go.
• For BCBSM members: 1-800-775-2583
• For Blue Care Network members: 1-855-624-5214