New York City is served by an emergency hotline (911) which is used for all kind of emergencies including medical emergencies. If you need help in a medical emergency you have to call 911 and the 911 operator will usually ask you about the type of emergency that you are facing and your address before dispatching the city’s EMS (Emergency Medical Service) ambulance to take you to the nearest hospital. Ambulances are manned by trained paramedics who begin basic life support or advance life support procedures in the ambulance itself as they inform the hospital about your arrival.
Once at the hospital you have to show the insurance card that is issued to you by the company that provides you with medical insurance and some form of identification (passport, driver license). However, no emergency care which is required in the case of conditions like heart attacks, physical trauma, and asthma attacks, etc, is denied in New York City on the basis of an individual’s ability to pay. If you don’t have insurance, you are expected to pay for the services through a payment arrangement with the hospital. The emergency room staff usually endeavors to stabilize your condition before it transfers you to another hospital/ facility. Most emergency rooms in New York City now even have clinics which deal with cases which have non-life threatening conditions in order to reduce the wait times in the emergency room.
Apart from ambulance delivered patients hospitals, it is common for patients to walk into emergency rooms themselves. Hospitals like NYU (New York University) and Beth Israel which are located in Midtown Manhattan offer 24 hour walk- in / walk-out emergency room facilities. Many people, afflicted by minor injuries or illnesses late at night or at times when their doctor’s office is closed, tend to use the emergency room facilities especially for conditions with distressing symptoms, such as an ear infection in the case of a young child.
Hospitalisation for a Routine Procedure
If you need to be admitted into hospital for a routine procedure then your doctor first schedules an appointment at a particular hospital to which he/she is connected. On the day of your admittance (or in certain cases a couple of days before the scheduled surgery/procedure) you then have to provide the hospital’s front desk with all the necessary information about your insurance. If you are paying out of pocket then you have to make sure that your bank account has enough funds to cover the costs of the procedure. You can ask the hospital for an estimate of costs before the scheduled procedure. Even for simple procedures like x-rays and blood tests, your doctor schedules your appointment at a particular hospital and you have to provide information about your insurance and pay your co-pay amount to the hospital front desk before they can go ahead with your procedure.