How to Find the Best Health Care Away from Home
We live in a mobile society. Don’t think mobile phones – but rather we have a population on the move. From families going on Spring Break to Snowbirds heading for winter homes, Americans are on the move. According to the Department of Transportation, in 2015 there were more than 638,000,000 domestic air passengers. In fact, 2 out of 5 adult Americans fly at least once a year. That’s a lot of travel and that’s not counting those of us who drove or took a train to our destinations. Before you pack up for your next trip, ask yourself, “Do I have everything covered?” Sure, you remembered your toothpaste and clean socks, but what about your health care?
Finding A Local Physician
People do get sick away from home. It’s not how you envisioned your trip when you planned it, but it happens. And when it does, how do you find the best doctor? Here are some tips:
1. Ask your Doctor: Especially if you’re planning a long trip – or staying for the winter – consider having this conversation prior to heading South. Ask your local physician for referrals, especially if you have current or chronic medical issues. Having this backup, in case you do need someone, makes things easier for you and for your medical team.
2. Ask your friends: Many of the medical challenges and concerns of the Snowbird population are similar and your friends’ referral can be especially helpful. Established Snowbirds often times will have great referrals. One of the challenges of balancing doctors between two different cities is finding the doctors that will properly communicate between each other. Make sure you help your providers make the connection.
3. Ask a local physician: If you do have a local physician established, they will be the best way to find a specialist in the area, if you need one.
Getting Your Health Care Ready to Travel
Make a Call: Calling your health care insurance provider prior to your departure for warmer weather and sunnier skies is important so that you understand any rules for coverage while you’re away.
Ask for Your Records: Physicians and hospitals all over the country are using electronic record filing for patients, which means you’ll have an easier time accessing your medical records from another state.
Most physicians or medical groups, use online platforms to provide patients access to their medical records. This can be between your primary care physician and a hospital or it can be a way to share your records between doctors in different states.
Ask your primary doctor or medical group if they have an online system for you to access your medical records by logging into a website. For any imaging history, you can ask your physician to download the scans on a disc that you can then carry with you and provide when needed.
Follow-up: Whether you’ve spent a warm, sunny five days or five months away, at some point you’ll be leaving the golf course or beach behind and heading back to home base. Now what? Well, here at CDI we want you to enjoy the trip back home and make sure you update your doctor when you return. Now that you’re a savvy traveller, you’ll have all the information, records and summaries of care on hand to give to your primary physician.
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