urgent care Archives - Best Texas ER Open 24/7, No Lines - Altus Emergency

Tips to Choosing Your Healthcare Plan Wisely

What to Ask When Choosing Your Healthcare Plan

The 2019 open enrollment period opened on November 1st and ends on December 15th, 2018, this means that many of us are actively shopping for the health care plan that bests suits our needs and budget.

To get the most out of our medical insurance plans, we must understand how the plans work, and what they cover. State and Federal insurance laws obligate insurers to include certain benefits and provide certain protections; however, insurers offer different plans from which you can choose, some will provide more coverage and protection than others, but this usually means the extra coverage comes at a price.

When you are shopping for healthcare coverage, insurance companies will provide a summary of each of their plans, this information will help you choose the right plan for you and your family. But, keep in mind the insurers won’t provide all the details of the plan until you have enrolled in the plan.

healthcare-plan

What is a Healthcare Policy?

For all intent and purposes, a health care policy is a legal contract between you and the health insurance company or health maintenance organization (HMO). When you enroll in a program, the insurance company or HMO will provide a copy of the contract, this will give detailed information about what your rights and responsibilities are under the plan.

For more information on the types of plans offered in Texas, please visit the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI)

healthcare insurance

Can I Cancel the Plan If I am Not Satisfied with the Coverage?

Yes, when you receive your copy of the policy detailing all the benefits, it is essential you read it carefully, especially if you have any special health needs. This will be the first time you are seeing the details of the coverage you will receive, and it’s important for you to know that if you are not satisfied with the policy, you have 10 days to return it and get a refund of your premium.

What is the Best Way to Compare Plans?

When you are shopping for medical insurance, ask the provider for their summary of benefits and coverage. This is the best way for you to compare healthcare plans as this document uses a standardized format making it easier to compare one item to another.

This summary outlines the basic coverage and cost of the plan you are interested in and will include the following:

  • Benefits and Exclusions
  • Links to Your Preferred Provider Directory and Drug Formulary
  • Deductible Amount
  • Coinsurance and Copayment Amounts
  • Out-of-Pocket limits
  • Referral Requirements
Medical-plan-patient

Always Ask About Emergency Medical Coverage

State and Federal laws obligate insurance companies to include Emergency Medical coverage in their policies. However, as we mentioned before, how much is covered can change from one plan to the next. As of August 6th, 2018, the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) approved a controversial new program which grants the largest Health Insurance company in Texas to deny payments for some ER visits. Therefore, it is crucial to ask how your plan will process emergency medical treatment and ER visits before you enroll.

Can You Appeal a Deny of Payment on ER Treatments?

Absolutely, every consumer has the right to appeal the insurance company’s decision to not pay for treatment received in the ER.

According to the TDI, they received assurances from the insurance company that patients will have the right to have their doctor debate the treatment plan provided with the insurer doctor before a denial of payment was issued, and patients will be able to appeal the denial with an independent review organization.

Altus Emergency Center’s Patient Advocate department is available to patients review their health insurance claims and to aid in the event of an appeal of payment denial. Our priority is and always been the wellbeing of our patients, and our doctors follow care protocols to ensure the best medical care is provided.

Healthcare-claim

Know Where to Go In the Event of an Emergency

If you are ever in need of quality emergency care, you will not have to wait in line at Altus Emergency Centers. All of our ERs are fully equipped and open 24/7.

Altus Emergency Centers Texas is Here for You 24/7

altus emergency 24 hr ER Texas

Altus Emergency Centers are all open 24/7/365, with no lines. Our facilities are well-equipped to diagnose and treat everything from major to minor adult and pediatric emergencies.  We are honored to be a part of our beautiful Texas communities and work hard each day to help see them grow and prosper!

24 Hour ER Services – Best in Texas

Looking for the best quality 24 hour ER services?

We offer the best freestanding 24 hour ER services in Texas. We have top of the line medical technology and highly experienced ER healthcare experts prepped and ready to get you well fast in Baytown, Lake Jackson, Lumberton, and Waxahachie.

Each ER team is highly efficient in treating chest and abdominal pains, pediatric emergencies, flu symptoms, sports injuries, bone breaks, as well as all other major and minor injuries. All services are available 24/7, including weekends and holidays with little to no wait times.

Explanation of Benefits. What You Need to Know

Understanding the Explanation of Benefits

If you’ve been to the doctor or the ER recently and used your health insurance to help pay for the treatment, then you can expect to receive an Explanation of Benefits in the mail soon. But, what is this document, what should you do when you get it, and why is it important?

What do you need to know

What is an Explanation of Benefits?

Simply put, an Explanation of Benefits (EOB), is a notification to let you know when your health care benefits claim has been processed by your insurance company.

It’s important to understand that an explanation of benefits is not a health care bill. The EOB will detail the expenses that were submitted by the healthcare provider (doctor, hospital, ER, urgent care center, etc.) and lets you know how the claim was processed.

What do you need to know

What Information Does Your EOB Include?

There is no standard format for an explanation of benefits, however, most include three main sections:

  • Total of Claim or Claims: Your EOB might contain more than one claim. The notification will highlight all the financial information about each claim, including:
    • Total Amount Billed by the Healthcare Provider
    • Total Benefits Approved by the Insurance Company Based on Your Plan Coverage
    • Any Amount Owed to the Healthcare Provider
  • Service Detail: Here you will find a list of all the services you or your dependent received from the healthcare provider. This section should include:
    • The Name of the Doctor or Facility You Attended
    • Date of Services
    • Date of Charges – Both Billed and Allowed

Some Insurance Companies Display any Additional Savings that Your Plan Provides Such as Provider Discounts and Other Deductions

Summary: This Will Show You a Clear Picture of Your Deductible, Copays, And Health Spending Accounts if Applicable.

Additional information regarding amounts not covered, and out-of-pocket expenses might also be included.

What do you need to know

What Should You Do When You Receive an EOB?

Your explanation of benefits is an essential record of claims for any medical services and benefit coverage, and you should hold on to it for at least 18 months, preferably two years in case any questions or disputes arise from about your claim or your bill.

What do you need to know

What Do You Need to Check on Your Explanation of Benefits?

When you first receive your EOB, you should carefully check the information it contains, and pay close attention to the following:

  • Make sure your personal information is correct if not, it could be a simple mistake, but in the worst-case scenario it could be someone trying to use your identity
  • Ensure you are not being billed for a service you did not receive. If your EOB contains more than one claim, make sure you are not being charged twice for the same service.
  • Make sure which doctor or health care provider submitted the claim and cross check it with your records to make sure there are no mistakes.
What do you need to know

What Happens if the Insurance Company Doesn’t Pay the Whole Amount?

If your healthcare plan doesn’t cover the whole amount of the services you received, then the health care provider will send you a bill for the amount owed.

You do not have to pay anything until you receive the bill, and never pay more than the amount the explanation of benefits says you owe. If you are billed more than what the EOB says, you should contact your insurance company immediately, so they can investigate this matter.

If your insurance company didn’t pay anything, find out why, it could be that you have not met your annual deductible, but, it could also be a mistake on their part, if that is the case you need to submit an appeal.

 

Altus Emergency Centers has focused its efforts on helping people better understand their insurance plans and how our billing works. If you have any questions regarding your billing, please don’t hesitate to call our Patient Advocate Department, it will be our pleasure to assist you.

What do you need to know

Know Where to Go In the Event of an Emergency

If you are ever in need of quality emergency care, you will not have to wait in line at Altus Emergency Centers. All of our ERs are fully equipped and open 24/7.

Altus Emergency Centers Texas is Here for You 24/7

altus emergency 24 hr ER Texas

Altus Emergency Centers are all open 24/7/365, with no lines. Our facilities are well-equipped to diagnose and treat everything from major to minor adult and pediatric emergencies.  We are honored to be a part of our beautiful Texas communities and work hard each day to help see them grow and prosper!

24 Hour ER Services – Best in Texas

Looking for the best quality 24 hour ER services?

We offer the best freestanding 24 hour ER services in Texas. We have top of the line medical technology and highly experienced ER healthcare experts prepped and ready to come to your aid in Baytown, Lake Jackson, Lumberton, and Waxahachie.

Each ER team is highly efficient in treating chest and abdominal pains, pediatric emergencies, flu symptoms, sports injuries, bone breaks, as well as all other major and minor injuries. All services are available 24/7, including weekends and holidays with little to no wait times.

Head Injury – Concussion – ER or Urgent Care?

Is My Head Injury a Concussion?

Should I go to the ER or Urgent Care?

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are of great concern amongst the medical community, as numbers suggest these types of injuries contribute to about 30% of all injury deaths.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there some 2.8 million TBI-related emergency room visits per day, and 153 people in the United States die every day from injuries that include traumatic brain injuries.

Given how big this problem is, we should ask ourselves when does a head injury require emergency medical attention, and can these be treated at an urgent care center or should we go to the ER?

Let’s start with understanding what a Traumatic Brain Injury is.

Head-injury-ER Texas

What Is a TBI and What Causes It?

As may have guessed, a traumatic brain injury involves injuries to our head, it can be caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head and it is strong enough to create a disruption to the brain’s normal functioning. Thankfully, not all bumps to the head result in a TBI, and those don’t require you visit the emergency room.

Traumatic Brain Injuries range from “mild” where there is a brief change of mental status or consciousness to severe where patients are unconscious for an extended period or present symptoms like memory loss. Mild TBI’s are known as concussions, and they are the most common type of brain injury.

This does not mean that concussions can be ignored, any type of brain injury regardless of how harmless it may seem requires immediate medical attention.

Can Traumatic Brain Injuries Be Treated at an Urgent Care Center?

The answer is no, and here is why. The severity of a traumatic brain injury is difficult if not impossible to diagnose without the use of CT Scans, and X-rays, the blow might have caused a small skull fracture that is not visible, or there might be swelling around the brain.

Since urgent care centers do not have direct access to the necessary diagnostic equipment, they cannot treat these types of injuries. If you suspect you may have a concussion or other type of brain injury and you visit an urgent care center, they will refer you to the emergency room, and you will have to pay for both consultations.

If you believe you or a loved one has sustained any type of brain injury, you need to come to the nearest Altus Emergency Center as soon as possible. Getting diagnosed and treated for a brain injury promptly can significantly reduce any permanent or long-lasting effects from the injury.

Head-injury-ER Texas

When Should You Visit Altus Emergency Centers for a Head Injury?

As we mentioned, not all head bumps will require you pay us a visit, however, if you receive a blow to the head either from playing sports, falling, or being in a car crash, and experience any of the following symptoms, you need to come in for a medical evaluation as soon as possible:

  •    You lost consciousness at the time of the injury
  •    You feel confused or disoriented after the injury
  •    You experience a headache along with nausea or vomiting

You should monitor anyone who has hit their head and bring them in for evaluation if you notice any of these symptoms:

  •    Unusual behavior or confusion
  •    Their symptoms seem to progress or worsen
  •    They seem weak, complain of numbness or have trouble speaking (slurred speech)
  •    They have difficulty with their eye movements
  •    Their headache won’t go away or becomes more severe
  •    Seizure
  •    They have difficulty waking up or staying alert
  •    There is discharged of clear fluid or blood from their nose or ears

 

As you can see, all brain injuries are dangerous as they can quickly develop complications. For this reason, if you suspect that you or someone you know has a traumatic brain injury, your best bet is to visit the nearest Altus Emergency Center for a proper diagnosis and fast treatment.

Concussion Emergency

Know Where to Go In the Event of an Emergency

If you are ever in need of quality emergency care, you will not have to wait in line at Altus Emergency Centers. All of our ERs are fully equipped and open 24/7.

Altus Emergency Centers Texas is Here for You 24/7

altus emergency 24 hr ER Texas

Altus Emergency Centers are all open 24/7/365, with no lines. Our facilities are well-equipped to diagnose and treat everything from major to minor adult and pediatric emergencies.  We are honored to be a part of our beautiful Texas communities and work hard each day to help see them grow and prosper!

24 Hour ER Services – Best in Texas

Looking for the best quality 24 hour ER services?

We offer the best freestanding 24 hour ER services in Texas. We have top of the line medical technology and highly experienced ER healthcare experts prepped and ready to come to your aid in Baytown, Lake Jackson, Lufkin, Lumberton, and Waxahachie.

Each ER team is highly efficient in treating chest and abdominal pains, pediatric emergencies, flu symptoms, sports injuries, bone breaks, as well as all other major and minor injuries. All services are available 24/7, including weekends and holidays with little to no wait times.

Broken Bones – ER or Urgent Care?

Where to go for Broken Bones?

When to go to the ER or the Urgent Care.

Growing up, whenever we got sick or injured the only treatment options we had were: schedule a doctor appointment or go to the hospital. Today, however, there are many treatment options available and knowing which one you should choose can be confusing.

Part of this confusion comes from not understanding what the differences between an Urgent Care center and an Emergency Room are; after all urgent and emergency are often used as synonyms, but, when it comes to medical care, the difference is clear.

Let’s start with understanding the difference between an Urgent Care clinic and an Emergency Room.

Urgent Care Centers: These healthcare facilities treat many of the same minor injuries and illnesses as your family doctor. Issues like allergies, mild respiratory illnesses, small cuts, and sprains can all be treated at an urgent care facility.

Sprain-Urgent-Care

Emergency Rooms: ER’s can treat any of the illnesses and injuries mentioned above, however, if you are able to get treatment at an urgent care you will most likely save money, as copays for minor injuries tend to be more expensive if treated in the ER. You should, however, go directly to the ER if you are suffering from a life-threatening condition such as a heart attack, stroke or severe trauma.

Emergency-room Texas

Where to Go in Case of a Broken Bone

When it comes to bone fractures, most of the time diagnosis cannot be made by a regular physical exam, diagnostic imaging such as x-rays and CT Scans are necessary. This means that if you suspect you or a loved one has a broken bone, they need to be examined by a qualified physician.

Not all bone fractures are the same, there are many types and treatment varies depending on the type and severity of the injury. In some cases, a brace, along with some rest will be enough, other times surgery might be required.

Types of Bone Fractures

  • Simple Fractures: When the broken bone does not break the skin or muscle tissue
  • Compound Fractures: In this case, the bone does pierce the surface exposing the bone and surrounding deep tissue
  • Comminuted Fractures: These are severe fractures where the bone breaks in different places
  • Greenstick Fractures: Common in children due to the flexibility of their bones, these fractures occur only on one side of the bone, meaning it is just a partial break
  • Avulsion Fractures: When a small piece of bone is torn from the main bone due to extreme force placed on a ligament or tendon, the injury is known as an avulsion fracture

The location of the fracture will also help you determine where you should go for treatment. The following chart was designed to help you make the right decision on where to go in case of a suspected broken bone injury.

Easy Services Comparison Chart ER vs. Urgent Care.

Type and Location of Injury

Emergency Room

Urgent Care Center

Simple fracture on small bones such as a finger, wrist, toe

The ER has all necessary equipment to diagnose and treat these types of injuries. However, these types of fractures can be treated at an urgent care center

If the urgent care has X-rays available, they can place a temporary splint and then refer you to an orthopedic M.D.

Compound and Comminuted Fractures

These need to be treated at an emergency room as soon as possible

Urgent Care centers are not equipped to handle these types of injuries

Bone Fractures in Arms or Legs

Fractures on long bones like those in your arms or legs require more specialized treatment available at any ER

If you visit an Urgent Care center with a fracture to a long bone, they will refer you to the ER or an orthopedic M.D., and it will cost you more money

Centralized Bone Fractures (Skull, Hip, Neck)

Skull, hip, or neck bone fractures are very serious, you will require CT Scans and possibly surgery. Therefore, you need to go to the ER

Urgent Care centers are not able to diagnose or treat bone fractures on the skull, hip or neck

Bone Fracture that Restricts Blood Flow

If the broken bone is restricting the flow of blood in the area, you must immediately be transported to the ER

Urgent Care centers cannot treat this type of injury

Visible Deformity at the Injury Site

This is a sign of a severe bone fracture, and you should be transported to the ER

Urgent Care centers are not able to treat these types of fractures

Bottom Line: If you ever suspect you might have a broken bone your best choice is to visit the nearest Altus Emergency Center. Our physicians will take x-rays or CT Scans and accurately diagnose the severity of your injury, and the best course of treatment.

Know Where to Go In the Event of an Emergency

If you are ever in need of quality emergency care, you will not have to wait in line at Altus Emergency Centers. All of our ERs are fully equipped and open 24/7.

Altus Emergency Centers Texas is Here for You 24/7

altus emergency 24 hr ER Texas

Altus Emergency Centers are all open 24/7/365, with no lines. Our facilities are well-equipped to diagnose and treat everything from major to minor adult and pediatric emergencies.  We are honored to be a part of our beautiful Texas communities and work hard each day to help see them grow and prosper!

24 Hour ER Services – Best in Texas

Looking for the best quality 24 hour ER services?

We offer the best freestanding 24 hour ER services in Texas. We have top of the line medical technology and highly experienced ER healthcare experts prepped and ready to come to your aid in Baytown, Lake Jackson, Lufkin, Lumberton, and Waxahachie.

Each ER team is highly efficient in treating chest and abdominal pains, pediatric emergencies, flu symptoms, sports injuries, bone breaks, as well as all other major and minor injuries. All services are available 24/7, including weekends and holidays with little to no wait times.

Cuts and Scrapes – ER or Urgent Care?

When to go to the ER or Urgent Care for Cuts and Scrapes

When it comes to cuts and scrapes, our bodies can take quite a beating over the years. Luckily most of the incidents we will experience will be minor injuries which won’t require medical attention.

However, there will be instances where we might not be sure if we need medical attention or not, and if we do where should we go for treatment, the Emergency Room or an Urgent Care center?

Cuts and Scrapes-wrist

How to Tell If Your Cut or Scrape Requires Medical Attention?

Scrapes can usually be treated at home with the use of an antibiotic ointment and a thorough cleaning. Determining if your cut is deep enough to warrant seeing a doctor, however, is not always easy, but, we can safely say that your wound will require stitches and possibly other medical attention when:

  • The cut is deeper than a ¼ inch and gapping or jagged
  • The cut was made by a dirty or rusty object
  • Fat, muscle, bone or other deep body structures are visible through the wound
  • The cut is over a joint and continues to open every time you move the joint
  • After 10-15 minutes of applying direct pressure, the cut is still bleeding
Cuts-and-scrapes-child

If you feel your injury requires medical attention, then you should know that the sooner you see a doctor, the better. You should be checked by a medical practitioner preferably within a few hours of being injured, as this will help reduce the risk of infection and minimize scarring.

If your cut was caused by a dirty or rusty object, you will require a tetanus shot if you haven’t had one within the past five years. Tetanus is a disease caused by bacteria that is transmitted through open cuts or wounds.

So, how can you know if your wound can be treated at an urgent care center or if you need to go to the emergency room instead? Here is a helpful guide to help you make an informed decision:

Visit Altus Emergency Centers When:

  • You have a deep gaping wound where muscles, veins, subcutaneous fat or bone are exposed
  • Your injury has cut through a major vein or artery, and the bleeding won’t stop
  • The cut is over a joint
  • The edges of the cut are jagged and uneven
  • It’s a deep or long facial laceration
  • You have an object embedded in the wound (don’t try to remove it on your own, this should always be done by a physician)
  • A partial or complete amputation such as a severed finger or any that has resulted in the partial or full removal of an appendage or tissue from on your body
  • You’ve sustained a scalp cut
Cuts-and-scrapes-ER

Visit an Urgent Care Center When:

  • The cut requires stitches, but the edges are straight, and even that can easily be pushed together
  • Shallow facial cuts
  • Cuts and scrapes that are embedded with dirt
  • Minor animal or human bites
  • Non-life-threatening wounds that were caused by a dirty or rusty object

An urgent care is good for a minor emergency.  However, you can save time, money and a great deal of pain by knowing when to go directly to the emergency room.  To learn more about the different types of Cuts & Scrapes and Treatments, Cuts and Scrapes.

Cuts and Scrapes – ER or Urgent Care?

Altus Emergency Centers are open 24/7 and will always be available to treat non-life-threatening injuries that would typically be handled by urgent care clinics when these are closed.

Know Where to Go In the Event of an Emergency

If you are ever in need of quality emergency care, you will not have to wait in line at Altus Emergency Centers. All of our ERs are fully equipped and open 24/7.

Altus Emergency Centers Texas is Here for You 24/7

altus emergency 24 hr ER Texas

Altus Emergency Centers are all open 24/7/365, with no lines. Our facilities are well-equipped to diagnose and treat everything from major to minor adult and pediatric emergencies.  We are honored to be a part of our beautiful Texas communities and work hard each day to help see them grow and prosper!

24 Hour ER Services – Best in Texas

Looking for the best quality 24 hour ER services?

We offer the best freestanding 24 hour ER services in Texas. We have top of the line medical technology and highly experienced ER healthcare experts prepped and ready to come to your aid in Baytown, Lake Jackson, Lufkin, Lumberton, and Waxahachie.

Each ER team is highly efficient in treating chest and abdominal pains, pediatric emergencies, flu symptoms, sports injuries, bone breaks, as well as all other major and minor injuries. All services are available 24/7, including weekends and holidays with little to no wait times.

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