Better Care at Lower Costs (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Do I Need to Be Hospitalized?
If you need inpatient care, get in and out of the hospital as quickly as possible. This will reduce costs and your risk of hospital-acquired infections. For more information, see skills to use in the hospital. To avoid extra days in the hospital, you may be able to bring in extra help at home. Ask about home nursing services to help while you recover.
If you have a terminal illness, hospitalization may not be your only choice. Many people choose to spend their remaining time at home with the people they know and love. Special arrangements can be made through hospice care programs in most communities. Look up "Hospice" in the Yellow Pages directory, or ask your doctor.
Should I See a Specialist About My Health Problem?
Specialists are doctors who have in-depth training and experience in a particular area of medicine. For example, a cardiologist has years of special training in dealing with heart problems. A visit to a specialist often costs more than a visit to your regular doctor, and the tests and treatments that you receive may be more expensive and invasive. Of course, specialists often provide the information you need to help you decide what to do about a major health problem and can perform certain procedures not available through your primary care doctor. For more information about specialists, see the topic Medical Specialists.
If you think you need to see a specialist but you have not been referred to one, discuss your concerns with your primary care doctor. When you do have a referral to see a specialist, a little preparation and good communication can help you get the most out of your visit. Before you go see a specialist:
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