Health care is expensive, but you can safely save money on health care.
Many times when someone is ill, it's easy to tell if a visit to the doctor is necessary or not. But other times, it's not clear. During routine visits, ask your doctor what signs and symptoms warrant an immediate appointment, and for which it's appropriate to "wait and see" for a day or two.
If you're not sure if the sick person needs an appointment or not, call the doctor's office and ask to speak to the nurse or doctor. Make the phone call near the sick person, so you can assess anything the nurse or doctor asks you to, during the call (if the doctor and nurses are busy, you might have to give the information to the receptionist) .
If symptoms suddenly worsen after office hours, call the office anyway; the answering service will call the on-call doctor, who will in turn call you. The on-call doctor can advise you to either wait until the next day to bring the child in, or bring the child to the Emergency Room right away.
Before you call, be prepared to report:
If your child is diagnosed with a highly contagious infection like bronchitis or strep throat, it is likely to spread to other family members. Ask the doctor if you can call in and describe the signs and symptoms if another family member becomes ill, rather than making another appointment. If you've built a trusting relationship with your doctor, he or she may call in a prescription without your having to schedule an additional appointment. However, if your doctor is reluctant to do this, respect his or her judgment; with the rise in antibiotic-resistant infections, many doctors want to confirm their diagnosis before prescribing a possibly unnecessary antibiotic.
If the nurse or doctor is not available to talk to you, leave a detailed message with the receptionist. Your call should be returned within several hours, at most. If the person is very ill, tell the receptionist and insist upon being called back as soon as possible.
If a visit is necessary, save money on treatment by:
When prescription medications are prescribed, ask the following questions and be sure the answers are clear before you leave the office.
These tips will help you avoid unnecessary visits to the doctor's office, take medications correctly, and safely save money when possible.
editor's note: your health is worth more than money. So never risk your health merely to save money.
Shelly Burke, RN, is the author of Home is Where the Mom Is. Home is Where the Mom Is is the most comprehensive resource for all moms, especially at-home moms. The above article is an excerpt from Home is Where the Mom Is. Shelly believes moms need to care for themselves, first, so they can better care for those around them. Shelly's next book, What Should I Say? is also available.
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