Quality care begins with appropriate care
High-quality work is a Union carpenter's trademark, so it's easy to understand why carpenters have high expectations for the quality of their health care.
In a health-care setting, quality care means getting the right care, at the right time, for the right reason. All three of these factors come into play when deciding where and when to receive medical care.
It's well documented that patients get the best care when they see their regular health care providers. That's why your doctor's office or clinic should be your first choice when deciding where to receive care. However, there are situations when an urgent care center or emergency room is a better choice.
Ask Mayo Clinic
When in doubt about how to respond to an injury or illness, call Ask Mayo Clinic to speak to a registered nurse. This service is available at no cost to eligible carpenters and dependents. Dial 800-903-1836 any time, 24 hours a day. Program the number into your mobile phone so it's always with you. An experienced nurse will help you decide whether you should find a doctor's office or emergency room. Ask Mayo Clinic is not a substitute for medical care. It's a way to save time and money by helping you choose the right level of care.
Doctor's Office or Clinic
Common illnesses, minor injuries, and routine health exams are best treated in your doctor's office or clinic. No one knows and understands your unique medical situation better than your personal physician. Although a doctor's office or clinic is usually open during regular business hours, some offer extended hours and weekend appointments.
Urgent Care Clinic
When your regular doctor is not available, an urgent care clinic is the next best place to treat non-life- threatening medical problems. These clinics offer the convenience of walk-in appointments for common illnesses and minor injuries, and they are usually open extended hours on evenings and weekends.
Not all emergency room visits are emergencies. The fact that most people visit the ER after regular business hours (when many doctor's offices are closed) suggests that ERs are used for convenience and not just life-threatening circumstances.
Indeed, you can find an ER 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. But this convenience comes at a price. Aside from being one of the most expensive options for medical care, ER visits usually aren't recorded in a patient's medical record. The omission of this important information could have life-threatening implications in the future.
The ER should be reserved for very serious or life-threatening symptoms, such as shortness of breath or chest pain, uncontrolled bleeding, or sudden weakness anywhere in your body. Otherwise, consider other settings to address your symptoms.
If you have a condition that can suddenly worsen--such as heart disease, migraines, diabetes, back pain or asthma--work with your doctor to develop a plan for dealing with any new complications.
Make a Plan
Where will you receive medical care the next time you need it? Make a plan in advance that anticipates a need for care at all hours of the day, including weekends.