February 15, 2022 Healthy Living

Getting the care you need quickly and in the most appropriate setting

Our phones put instant access to the world in our pockets. When we shop online, we want things to arrive as quickly as possible. In this fast-paced digital environment, it’s easy to get impatient.

Every day of the year, thousands of residents in our region need health care services. And over the last few years (even before the pandemic) doctors’ offices have been experiencing staffing shortages. With all this in mind — it’s important to understand how urgent your individual health need is, and what’s a reasonable and realistic time to wait for care from your doctor or a specialist.

At CDPHP® your good health is always our top priority. Which is why we want to make sure you get the care that you need quickly and in the most appropriate setting.

Working with the Department of Health, we’ve set standards for access to care with the providers in our network. These standards also help doctors avoid an overload of patients, so they can focus high-quality care on those who need it the most at any given time — like you or your family when you truly need to be seen quickly.

Let’s start with the most important thing to remember — in the event of an emergency, don’t delay care! Getting emergency care quickly doesn’t just increase the chances of surviving a life-threatening situation, it also lowers the risk of serious or long-term complications.

Virtual options

You can also use telemedicine to get non-emergency or routine care, and this can potentially speed up the time you might wait for the appointment you need. The first step is to call your primary care physician to see if they offer virtual appointments.

CDPHP members can also use the Doctor On Demand app to connect instantly to a physician at any time of day from your phone, tablet, or computer. Doctor On Demand physicians are board certified, U.S. based, and are trained extensively in video medicine.

Virtual care is also available for mental health care. First step – ask your provider if telemedicine appointments are available. Or see other virtual options available to CDPHP members, such as aptihealth or Valera Health.  

Examples of appointment wait times

Starting with the most immediate and critical situations, here are some examples where  different levels of care are needed — and how soon you can expect to be seen by a provider:

For example…

  • Trouble breathing or chest pain
  • Sudden numbness, weakness, or difficulty speaking
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Severe pain or serious injury

For example…

  • Cuts that might need stitches
  • Sprains and strains
  • Pink eye
  • A rash
  • An illness or injury that does not appear to be life threatening but can’t wait until the next day with to see your primary care provider

For example…

  • Joint or muscle pain
  • A sore throat or cough
  • An earache
  • Had a fever for less than 24 hours (unless under 12 months of age)

For example…

  • Annual checkups
  • Routine screenings like a mammogram
  • Immunizations like a flu shot

Specialist wait times

When you need to see a specialist, or get a test or procedure, the timeframe for receiving this care will likely be longer than routine visits or screenings. But here, too, CDPHP has standards that we require of providers in our network to make sure you receive the highest quality care without waiting too long. For example, here’s our provider standard for visits related to pregnancy and family planning:

Some important things to remember

  • When you call for an appointment, always give information about your condition so your provider can give you an appointment time that accurately fits your need. 
  • Make sure the doctors and medical professionals you see have your email, and keep an eye out for their updates. Many offices post on their website or send emails about availability, appointments, and how they’re responding to special circumstances, like concerns over coronavirus.
  • If your provider offers an online patient portal, sign up and make use of this valuable feature. Often, you can request appointments (in-person or telehealth) and communicate with your doctor’s office without having to call.
  • If you experience a significant delay in care, you can call member services at the number on your ID card and give us your feedback. At CDPHP we’re always working to improve the health and health care experience of our members.
Dan Mussman
About the Author

Dan joined CDPHP as a communications specialist in 2021, continuing a 15-year career as a writer, marketer, and media professional. His work as Creative Director for iHeartMedia was recognized by the American Advertising Federation and National Radio Mercury Awards. Dan is a regular volunteer with United Way and other community groups, and enjoys filling his free time with Adirondack hikes, playing guitar with friends, and capturing glimmer moments with his camera.

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