Richmond

Affairs of the Heart
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Take things to heart.  Heartfelt. Places in the heart.

But a pain in the heart or your chest—not so romantic.

What should you do when you experience chest pains?  Is it your heart or something else? When should you head to the hospital ER or the acute care center?

First of all, there are different kinds of chest pain:

  • Tightness
  • Dull
  • Stabbing
  • Burning
  • Aching
  • Sharp

And the causes are just as varied:

  • Heart problems
  • Lung issues
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Bone, muscle or nerve issues

As you can see, at the top of that list are heart issues.  From coronary artery disease to heart attack to myocarditis to pericarditis to cardiomyopathy to valve issue these problems are nothing to ignore.

So, when should you seek out help? If your doctor isn’t available and immediate self-care options don’t help, consider an immediate visit to an acute care center (or calling 9-1-1) when you experience:

  • A crushing pain under your breastbone.
  • A pain that spreads to your jaw, left arm or back.
  • A sudden chest pain with a shortness of breath.
  • Nausea, dizziness or a rapid heart rate or rapid breathing.
  • A change in your color to ashen.
  • Very low blood pressure or low heart rate.

Frontline ER is an acute care emergency room providing healthcare services to the communities we live and work within. Give us a call or contact us through our website should you have more questions about our services.

Migraines and Headaches
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To migraine sufferers, a pain in the head isn’t so simple and can be excruciating.

When your vision is affected, you can’t sleep and nausea overcomes you, it’s hard to stand, sit or lay down, let alone function even close to normal.

Migraines are triggered by a number of factors including hormonal changes, stress, anxiety and dietary changes. They can last a few hours or a few days. Some people experience them only a few times a year; others every few days. They can start as a dull pain and grow into a throbbing pain.

Treatment varies, too.  As no two people are alike, how migraines affect an individual vary widely. Over-the-counter drugs like acetaminophen, aspirin, caffeine and ibuprofen can be effective as well as nausea medicines.  A variety of prescription medicines are also used for treatment.

Sometimes self-treatment or getting in for a visit with your regular doctor is near impossible when that headache just won’t go away.  When that happens, you need to resort to an acute care center like Frontline ER.

Our ER physicians and staff are familiar with migraines and the impact they have on a patient’s body. Calm and kindness are as much a part of the treatment as any drugs or physical treatment.  When you can’t find care at home or your own doctor isn’t available, please turn to us. We are open 24/7, even when your doctor or infusion center isn’t open. And since we are an ER, no physician referral is required for acute migraine treatment.

On a recent Instagram review, a patient said of Frontline: “The nurses and doctors at Frontline are always so kind and understanding and they know exactly how to treat migraines.”

We are equipped with a clean and safe environment, private rooms, the latest in lab and dispensary facilities and the best-trained ER staff in the business. And we bill as in-network for your insurance.

Frontline ER is an acute care emergency room providing healthcare services to the communities we live and work within. Give us a call or contact us through our website should you have more questions about our services.

COVID-19 and Healthcare Workers
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As the worldwide pandemic drags on, dragged along with it is an increasing toll on the mental health of those caring for us.

Frustration, anxiety, worry and burnout are weighing heavily on those who are on the frontlines caring for the public. From doctors and nurses to sanitation workers to grocery store employees and delivery people, the many that serve the masses are being subjected to stresses and strains they haven’t seen or felt before.

When it comes to the frontline healthcare professionals, we here at Frontline ER can speak directly to that impact.

“For the last 8 weeks at our locations, our staff has been experiencing stress levels somewhere between 7 and 10,” Laura Tschida said.  “It’s only been in the last few days we’ve seen that number slack off to a 4.”

Ms. Tschida is Marketing Director for Frontline ER. She also reports that there are days her Dallas location fields upwards of 800 phone calls per day, mostly related to COVID-19 testing.

According to a recent release from HIMSS Media, 93% of healthcare workers are reporting experiencing stress.  Anxiety, frustration, exhaustion and burnout and just being overwhelmed were reported by 75% to 86% of those surveyed. That doesn’t even include concerns for exposing their families to the virus.

Left untreated, these maladies can lead to more severe mental health conditions that could decimate our workforce and create issues with the well being of the broader population.

These are times of coming together (at a social distance) in understanding of what each of us is experiencing.  While, as potential patients and in need of medical treatment and care, we feel your needs come first, it is important to remember that those serving us deserve and need our empathy.  Organizations such as Frontline ER appreciate your needs and at the same time are very grateful for your understanding and support.

Frontline ER is an acute care emergency room providing healthcare services to the communities we live and work within. Give us a call or contact us through our website should you have more questions about our services.

Chest Pains and COVID-19
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Chest pains in and of themselves are a concern.  In these times of a global pandemic, they take on new significance.

If you experience discomfort in your chest, it might include a dull ache, a crushing or burning feeling, a sharp stabbing pain or a pain that radiates to your neck or shoulder.  It could be due to an underlying disease or it could be from heavy lifting, a trauma to the chest or the result of swallowing a large piece of food.

On the list of disease causes of chest pain include heart-related problems.  Usually these pains are also accompanied with shortness of breath, cold sweats, dizziness or weakness and nausea or vomiting.

However, in this time of COVID-19 chest pains could be an indicator of other things.  Since the coronavirus is a respiratory illness, the pain could be associated lung issues, including blood clots.  Clots in the lungs restrict blood flow and are serious, even leading to death.  Usually the clots start in the legs and migrate through the blood stream to the lungs.

In recent COVID-19 cases among children, there is a growing concern for blood clots in the lungs.

Since chest pains can be a concern for any number of reasons, please visit a physician as soon as possible.  And in this time of COVID-19, be concerned for the complications this disease can bring to your health and of those around you.

Give us a call or contact us through our website should you want more information on this condition.

(*photos courtesy of Upsplash)

Frontline ER’s Lab Capabilities
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Having appropriate laboratory services available for an emergency acute care facility and its staff is critical for proper and complete care.  That’s why Frontline ER’s lab services are always available.

This availability allows us to better assist, diagnose and treat a patient’s medical condition any time of the day or night, and day of the year.

Our lab and diagnostic services services include:

  • Routine lab tests, including urinalysis and lipid panels.
  • Blood tests, including CBC and PT.
  • Diagnostic tests including blood pressure, breathing tests and and vital signs.

Our access to and use of these laboratory services ensures that we can treat your medical issue more immediately so as to make any further decisions about what next steps to take.

Your care is of our utmost concern.

Acute Care Versus a Hospital ER
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While Frontline ER has emergency room as part of its name, it is clear that we serve our communities with acute care.

So just what is the difference between an emergency room and an acute care center? And when should you go to the hospital ER and when should you use an urgent care center?

The answer isn’t always simple.  Usually health emergencies happen without warning and cause us to make split-second decisions.  A broken arm, chest pains or a sick infant in the middle of the night. However, there is a difference between “emergency” and “urgent.”

Hospital ERs are available and open to provide complex and critical care any time of the day or night.  They can care for a heart attack, life-and limb-threatening injuries and traumatic injuries resulting from car accidents. The best time to head for the hospital ER is when you are suffering chest pains, been severely burned, suspect stroke symptoms or have suffered a concussion. Plus they have the ability to admit you to their hospital should you require more intense care.

In the same vein, an urgent care center, like Frontline ER, is where you go when your doctor’s office is not open.  Anything you might consider consulting with your own PCP when they aren’t available, is a candidate affliction to talk with the urgent care physician about. Small cuts that might require stitches, sprains and strains, abdominal pain or fever without a rash are all basic ailments that could bring you to an urgent care center.

So take a moment to consider your injury or pain and then choose your care option.  Keep in mind, too, that should your injuries be more serious, that Frontline will recommend that you be taken to the nearest hospital for more acute care.

For more information, please give us a call or consult our website.

Operation Turkey Day 2020
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For Thanksgiving 2020, our Frontline ER Richmond team volunteered to be a part of Operation Turkey in the Houston area.

Sponsored by the Office of Veteran’s Affairs, the Frontline team was part of a joint effort with several agencies and supporting organizations.  The event fed the homeless and served meals to those who, otherwise, wouldn’t have food for the holiday.  All told, 500 turkeys were smoked resulting in 8,000 meals for families and the homeless from Katy to conroe, Texas.

Frontline ER is pleased and proud to be active in supporting the communities we serve.  Thanks to all who participated.

Understanding Your Health Insurance
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There is a lot to learn about health insurance, and these definitions may help you understand your health plan.   Please understand that your benefits are established by your insurance company, not the medical facility.

Copayment is a fixed amount set by your health insurance paid to your providers.  The copay is due at the time of service. Examples of copays:

  • An emergency room copay might be $150.
  • A physician office visit, $25.
  • Prescription medication, $10.

Deductible is a fixed amount that you pay out of pocket each year before your health insurance begins to pay for medical services. If you have not met your annual deductible (expenses accured between January  to December of the year), you are responsible for medical charges until it is reached. Sometimes the insurance company applies something towards the patient’s deductible and sometimes it does not.

Coinsurance is the amount that you pay for covered medical services after you’ve satisfied your deductible. Coinsurance is typically expressed as a percentage of the charge for a service rendered by a healthcare provider. For example, if your insurance company covers 80% of the allowable charge for a specific service, you may be required to cover the remaining 20% as coinsurance. The coinsurance will apply first then the Out of Pocket amount will apply after.

Maximum Out-Of-Pocket Costs.  These are the annual limit for which patients are responsible under a health insurance plan. This limit does not apply to premiums, charges from out-of-network health care providers or services that are not covered by the plan. These charges happen when the deductible limit is met first and then the out-of-pocket limit is met. Once the annual limit is fully met by the patient’s plan, then the insurance will cover 100 percent of the allowed amount on the claim. This means no more copayments, deductible or coinsurance amounts to pay once the out-of-pocket annual limit is met.

Covered Services are what your plan will pay for completely or in part. Your health plan does not have to cover every service. The plan may only pay for a certain number of some services. Call the insurance company to see what services are covered. If a service you need is not covered, you should talk to your service coordinator before getting the service.

Prior Authorization means the emergency room does not need prior authorization.  Some plans require prior authorization (or prior approval) before certain services are provided. The doctor provides information to the plan to request the authorization. If the plan does not authorize the service, the insurance company will not pay for the service.

In Network.  Texas Senate Bill 425 ensures that a licensed emergency room does not need to be “in-network.”  That is, part of your insurance company network.

Appealing: You cannot appeal if the service was not covered by the plan or if you received more than the amount of services allowed.   If the insurance company still denies payment, you may be able to have an independent review organization (IRO) look at the denial. An IRO is an independent third party certified by the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) (www.tdi.texas.gov/pubs/consumer/cb005.html).

Should you have any further questions or need clarification on your Frontline ER invoice, please contact us.

Frontline ER Richmond Clarifies Its COVID-19 Testing Payment Policies
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Frontline ER Richmond is pleased to able to offer COVID-19 Antigen testing with results provided during your visit.  However, as of October, 24, 2020, payment policies have changed with regard to insurance and out-of-pocket payments.

Insurance. Insurance companies have announced varying deadlines regarding the “cost share” of payments for COVID-19 testing.  Frontline ER has established the following requirements for patients using their insurance:

  • A copay will apply to your ER visit for COVID-19 testing.
  • Patients must wait at least five days before testing after initial exposure.
  • A patient must exhibit symptoms within the last ten days.

Out of Pocket or Self Pay. For patients paying for the test themselves, Frontline ER offers quick registration and drive-thru testing paying by cash, credit or debit.  However, we do not provide insurance paperwork to file on your insurance.  We are also unable to provide billing codes or receipts for insurance.

Travel.  Testing for travel is self pay only (the fee).  We only offer the Antigen COVID-19 test with results during your visit.   We do not offer the molecular PCR test at this time.  It is the responsibility of the traveler to determine which test is required for their specific travel needs.

Frontline ER is a state-of-the-art freestanding emergency center providing diagnostics and treatment for patients 24/7.  Equipped to provide pediatric and trauma emergency care as well as treatment of workplace and household injuries, Frontline ER has locations in Dallas and Richmond, Texas.

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