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How do you get health care when you need it?

Periodic Contributor

How do you get health care when you need it?

In the last year, I've noticed that I'm unable to get a doctor's appointment, or sometimes even an appointment at a clinic, when I'm sick. The wait time is often up to a week. For example, this year at Christmas I contracted some kind of infection that resulted in an ear infection and bronchitis. I tried to reach my normal provider, but there were no appointments available for at least a week, not even virtual ones. Similarly, I couldn't get an appointment at a walk-up clinic. I medicated myself but had many sleepless nights. By the time I am able to get an appointment, I probably won't need it, luckily for me.


Earlier this year I had a recurrent rash. By the time I was able to get an appointment with my dermatologist, the rash had mostly cleared up and she was unable to diagnose the problem. She recommended that I make an appointment when the rash flares up, but that's impossible because there are no immediate appointments. Therefore, I continue to have sporadic rashes.


I realize that, if my condition becomes life-threatening, I can go to the emergency room, but I'd prefer to get treatment before that happens. What's the solution? 

Regular Contributor

Getting healthcare when you need it typically involves the following steps:

  1. Primary Care Physician (PCP): Establish a relationship with a primary care physician or general practitioner. They serve as your first point of contact for non-emergency healthcare needs. You can find a PCP by asking for recommendations, checking with your insurance provider, or conducting an online search.

  2. Health Insurance: Obtain health insurance coverage to help manage the cost of medical services. Options for insurance include private plans, employer-sponsored plans, government programs like Medicaid (for low-income individuals) or Medicare (for seniors), or national healthcare systems available in some countries.

  3. Regular Check-ups and Preventive Care: Schedule routine check-ups with your PCP for preventive care, screenings, vaccinations, and to address any general health concerns. These appointments can help detect and address health issues early on, reducing the risk of complications.

  4. Urgent Care Centers: For non-life-threatening conditions that require immediate attention but don't require an emergency room visit, consider visiting an urgent care center. They typically offer extended hours and can handle a wide range of minor injuries and illnesses.

  5. Emergency Care: In case of a severe or life-threatening emergency, call the emergency services number (such as 911 in the United States) or visit the nearest emergency room. Emergency departments are equipped to handle critical situations that require immediate medical attention.

  6. Specialist Referrals: If your primary care physician determines that you need specialized care, they may refer you to a specialist such as a cardiologist, dermatologist, or orthopedic surgeon. Specialists have expertise in specific areas of healthcare and can provide targeted treatment.

  7. Telemedicine: In recent years, telemedicine has gained popularity, allowing individuals to receive healthcare remotely through video consultations with healthcare providers. This option can be convenient for certain non-emergency conditions or follow-up appointments.

Remember, the specific process can vary depending on your location, insurance coverage, and healthcare system. It's important to be familiar with your insurance plan's coverage, network of providers, and any necessary pre-authorization requirements to ensure smoother access to healthcare services.

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Regular Contributor

In our state we have CVS Minute Clinics.

Good for derma  issues and they write


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Social Butterfly

Where you live and who provides your insurance can make a difference.


I live in Central Texas, and I have Baylor Scott & White Senior Care Advantage. I see my doctor, dentist, dermatologist etc. at least two times a year and have an annual eye exam. Thanks to technology I can have online doctor visits too.


There are many emergency clinics in this area.


If you own a cell phone or other camera? Take a picture of the rash when it's bad and provide it to your doctor.

Regular Contributor

Was looking into cataract surgeons, opthamologists.

They ( 100 % ) wanted written referrals, even though 

my insurance does not require such.


Do you think they want to share the risk of the decision to 

have the surgery? If you go to a specialist, you want to benefit

from his/ her experience& not what is written in the referral.☺



With slim $$$ margins, we can hardly be spending time on the formality

of faxing form letters.

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