Hospital Admission Process for the Expats:
Hospital admission is ordered by your treating physician and you are often referred to a specific doctor or department at the hospital. You will be given the contact information by the referring office. Many treating physicians are practicing out of hospitals and admission is performed through them. For referred treatments or surgery, you will need to call ahead and schedule an appointment with the reception, unless it is an emergency.
- Any paperwork by other doctors relating to your health issue, such as medical and laboratory tests.
- Insurance card or payment information, such as a credit card.
If you need to visit the emergency room, which all hospitals have, you can arrive 24/7 without prior notice. However, during the day, it is advised to call your primary care physician first and see if you can be treated in your doctor’s office.
When arriving at the emergency room, you will need to give your personal and financial information to the admission staff at the registration desk. It is advisable to always have your insurance card or other health insurance information, such as company-issued ID, and phone number with you in your wallet. You will then be seen by an emergency doctor on a first come, first serve basis or according to severity of emergency. In very urgent cases where you are admitted immediately or if you have been admitted by an ambulance, the staff will try to obtain the information from you or your family in-between treatments within the first hours.
If you do not own health insurance and are unable to provide some form of payment, but have already been admitted, the hospital generally continues treating you and releases you when you are fit to leave. In this case, you will be sent a bill. It can be arranged that the hospital bill is paid in payments and you will need to contact your hospital administration for terms.
A hospital may refuse to treat you, if you are not considered an emergency and are unable to proof financial responsibility, such as health insurance; however, the staff is required to stabilize you and may initiate a transfer to a non-profit community hospital.
Ben Taub General Hospital (1504 Taub Loop, Medical Center, 713-873-2000) is well-known for trauma and emergency admission of low-income residents and people with little or no health insurance. The hospital works with these residents through low-cost treatment and generous payment terms.