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Healthcare 101 "Where for Care"

Where for Care: What's Best for You
Accessing healthcare can sometimes feel confusing, but it's essential to know your options. Here's a simple guide to help you understand how to get the care you need.

Your Regular Doctor (Primary Care Physician or PCP): Your regular doctor is like your healthcare home base. They can help with check-ups, vaccines, and if you're feeling sick. They also coordinate with other doctors if you need special care. Some acute conditions you should see your PCP for are: cold symptoms, ear or sinus pain; mild abdominal pain with nausea; and vomiting; minor injuries, sprains or strains; skin infections or rashes, and if any of these go on for longer than a week. Your PCP can also help you manage ongoing health care issues like diabetes and high blood pressure.

Telemedicine: Imagine talking to a doctor through your phone or computer – that's telemedicine! It's great for quick questions or when you can't go to the doctor's office. They can give advice and even prescribe medicine if needed. Some providers offer telehealth as a regular service. If you are interested, ask when you schedule your appointment.
Acute Care Clinic: Sometimes you need to see a doctor right away, but it's not an emergency. The Acute Care Clinic is perfect for that. They can help with things like cuts, sprains or strains, mild abdominal pain with nausea, fevers, skin infections or rashes, or bad colds with or without ear or sinus pain. Call ahead to see if you can get seen today. You can call 719-589-3000, the main clinic number at San Luis Valley Health, to access providers who have available appointments.

Specialty Care: Sometimes you need to see a special doctor, like a heart doctor or a skin doctor. Your regular doctor can send you to them if you need special help. Make sure that if you are referred to a specialist, that you know what clinic it is you are being referred to and when you should expect them to contact you. If you don’t hear from them in a week, call your doctor and check that the referral was sent.
Now, when should you go to the emergency room?

Emergency Room (ER): If something really serious happens – excessive or profuse bleeding; thoughts of self-harm or thoughts of hurting others; major injuries or suspected broken bones; poisoning, snake or animal bites; chest pain; or severe shortness of breath – that is an emergency. They are open all day and night for emergencies. Sometimes the ER can be a very busy place; if someone comes in after you who has a more serious injury, they will be seen before you even though you got there first. Some insurances charge you much more to be seen in the ER than the doctor’s office.

Remember, knowing where to go for healthcare can help you stay healthy and get better faster. Don't be afraid to ask questions and get the care you need!  Mgt White

Margaret White, Registered Nurse, Bachelor in Nursing, Master of Science in Healthcare Administration, and Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality

Margaret is the SLV Health Director of Quality and Safety