Dear WestView News:
Andrew Cook’s letter in January should encourage everyone to do some research before they need health care—i.e., locate the nearest facilities their providers cover, know their hours, and find out if they are an urgent care center or an emergency department (which costs more).
I recently came close to being misled; in November, I had a splinter in my foot, in a spot I couldn’t see or reach. I visited an urgent care center my insurance recommended. The doctor who examined me said I needed an x-ray and biopsy, and tried to send me to another facility. I confirmed with my provider that that place was out of network, and went instead to a care center in midtown I had already checked out. The doctor used a needle and tweezers to remove the splinter. Since I hadn’t met my deductible, I was happy to pay the reasonable bill, and my foot is fine.
I was lucky to know about the facility I finally went to, and equally lucky to be in minimal discomfort. Had I been in greater distress, I might not have double-checked, and I might have been stuck with substantial bills for unnecessary procedures.
I urge my fellow readers to do some investigating before a health issue arises. Unfortunately, a facility might not inform you they are an emergency center and not an urgent care center, and a doctor might try to send you to an out of network care center. It’s up to you to take any possible precautions you can, by checking with your provider: what are the nearest covered facilities, what are their hours, and are they urgent care centers or emergency departments. It’s not fair to have to know all this yourself, but it’s the way things are.