International Health Awareness Center, Inc.s mission is to promote health, disease prevention, medical screenings, and other health services to low-income individuals throughout the world. Health screenings and basic community services are an important part of preventative health care and we believe that all persons need access to programs that improve quality of life and ability to have a higher standard of living.
Saturday, 20 April 2013
Learning About Health Care
The health care system in the U.S. can help you when
You are sick. It can also help you stay healthy.
Doctors and other health care providers are part of the
Health care system. Public health departments are also
Part of the health care
The health care system includes services like clinics,
community health centers and hospitals.
health care services that are available to all people.
For example, EVERYONE has the right to call 911 in an
To get good health care you need to understand how
the health care system works. You also need to know
what rights you have and how to get the health care
• Why are checkups important?
• When do I need emergency health care?
• How do I get help paying for health care?
Kinds of Health Care
People see a doctor for many different
reasons. People see a doctor when they are
sick and in an emergency. In the U.S. people
also see the doctor even when they are not
sick. These visits are called checkups.
When do people see a Doctor?
• For checkups
• When you are sick
• In an emergency
A checkup is a visit to
the doctor to make sure
you are healthy, and to check for signs of
sickness. During a checkup your doctor may
find a problem that you did not see or feel.
Sometimes finding a problem early can save
Adults need checkups every year or every
two years, children need checkups every
year, and babies need checkups more often.
Sometimes checkups are called well visits,
because you go to the doctor when you are
well (not sick).
What Happens During a
• First you give information about your health. You may
need to fill out a health history or medical history form.
On this form you check “yes” or “no” on a list of health
problems to show the doctor what health problems you
have had in the past.
• The doctor and nurse will check your:
Height and weight
Eyes, Ears, Throat, Mouth
• You may get tests or screenings to make sure you do not
have certain health problems. For example, women get
Pap tests to make sure they do not
have cervical cancer.
• Children often get immunizations or shots at a checkup
to help prevent sickness.
• The doctor will talk to you about what you can do to stay
healthy. You may need to eat differently, exercise, or take
• You should talk to the doctor and ask questions about the
checkup or anything else about your health.
Do I go for a Checkup?
have a doctor for when you are sick, go to that same doctor
checkup. If you do not have a doctor, go to a local clinic or
can get a checkup in many different places.
Neighborhood or mobile clinics
Community health centers
do not know where the closest free or low cost clinic is, you may call the
health department to find out. At the end of this chapter is a list of phone
and information about where to go for free or low cost health care.
Where Do I go when I am Sick?
Sometimes when you get sick you will want to see a
Doctor right away. If you have the flu, or a very bad
pain in your stomach, call your doctor or go to a
• Describe your symptoms (how you feel).
• Tell how long you have had the symptoms.
• Ask what you need to do. Ask if you need to see
• Ask how you can keep others in your family
from getting the same sickness.
If you need to see the doctor, the person on the phone
or at the health center will make an appointment for
you. You may see a doctor that same day or the next
day, or they may tell you to go to the emergency room.
This is where you go for serious health problems or
when you need help right away.
are sicknesses you
get from other
people or animals.
One of the best
ways to prevent
diseases, like colds
and flu, is to wash
your hands carefully
When is it an Emergency?
Emergency health care is when a person is so sick
or so injured that he or she may not live without
quick help from a doctor.
Here are some examples of emergencies.
• A heart attack
• A bad traffic accident
• A person is unconscious
• Gunshot and knife wounds
• A person can’t breathe
• A poisonous snake bite
To get help in an emergency, use any phone
to call 911 immediately:
• Tell what the emergency is.
• Answer all questions.
• If you cannot understand the questions, say: “I speak Spanish”
(or any other
language). WAIT for someone who speaks your language. DO NOT HANG
• Wait with the injured or sick person until the ambulance arrives.
The ambulance driver will decide what hospital to go to.
Even if you know the injured or sick person, you cannot ride in
ambulance. You must get to the hospital another way.
When to Call 911
Poisonous snake bite
Very bad accident
Chapter 1: Health Care
How Do I Get Good Health Care?
Know what your rights are and use them. This will help you get
good health care.
You have a right to:
• Choose a doctor that you trust
• Ask questions about your health care
• Make decisions about your health care
• Get help to find more information
• Ask if a medical interpreter is available to help you understand your doctor
You also have a responsibility to:
• Ask questions
• Learn about your health
• Get help from others when you need it
• Make sure you understand the problem and what you need to do
• Give your doctor complete and true information
• Help make decisions about your health care
• Do not wait until you are sick to see a doctor.
• To get good health care, know your rights.
• Ask for help at the information desk.
• Learn more about programs that can help you pay
for health care.
Check Your Learning
Why are checkups sometimes called “well visits”?
Because you go to the doctor when you are not well
Because you go to a doctor when you are well
Because you go to the hospital to visit a doctor
How Do I Find My Way?
Hospitals and health centers can be confusing. Big hospitals have
care services. Small hospitals and health centers also have many
When you go to a hospital or health center, start at the Information Desk. It is in the
lobby (the big room at the main entrance -- where you
first walk in).
Ask the person at the Information Desk for help finding your way.
Chapter 1: Health Care
This chart shows signs and symbols that will help you find your
way in a hospital or health center.
Health Care Signs and Symbols
What it looks like What the signs say What happens here
Start here. Here is where you ask for
help finding your way.
Ambulances enter here. You can
bring a very sick or injured person
Health care services for children.
Where you get x-rays (pictures of the
inside of your body).
Services to help you with problems
that make it hard to take care of your
health. For example, paying for health
care or buying healthy food.
Health care services for
Healthcare services for women.
Learning Medical Words
Knowing the meaning of medical words can also help you find your
For example, if you are looking for a medical department for
children, look for the
word “Pediatric”. The department may be called “Pediatrics” or
“Pediatric Clinic” or
“Pediatric Services.” “Pediatric Radiology” is where children go
to get x-rays. The
chart below has more hints about medical words and their meanings.
If the word begins like this... It probably means this...
oral or dental teeth or mouth
psych- mind or feelings
If the word ends like this... It probably means this...
-ology a department or specialty
-ologist a doctor or other person who
is a specialist
Chapter 1: Health Care
How Do I Get Help Paying for Health Care?
The best way to pay for health care is to have health insurance. In the US,
people get health insurance through their work, while others
choose to purchase
health insurance on their own. Sometimes, you can choose between
different kinds of
health insurance, also called health plans. If you have a family,
you may want to choose
a family plan. If your workplace offers health insurance, be sure
you understand what
the health insurance covers and how much it will cost you.
Many people in the US cannot get health insurance through their
work or simply cannot
afford it. If you do not have health insurance, look for help in
the community. Local
County Health Departments, clinics, community health centers and
some hospitals offer
health care at no charge or for a small fee based on your income.
If you want to find free
or low cost health insurance, contact one of the programs listed
in the chart on page 15.
Before you sign up for health insurance be sure you understand
these things about your health insurance.
HMO (Health Maintenance
In this kind of insurance plan, you have to use the doctors and
hospitals that the company lists in their book.
PPO (Preferred Provider
In this kind of insurance plan, you can use the doctors, or
the company’s book, or you can choose the provider or hospital you
want. If you choose someone who is not in the book, you pay more.
With some insurance plans like HMO’s, you pay one fee every time
you see the doctor and the insurance pays the rest. For example,
may pay $20 each visit.
Covered expenses These are
things your insurance company agrees to pay for.
The amount you have to pay before your insurance company will
begin to pay.
In some insurance plans (like PPO’s) this is the percentage of
medical bills that you have to pay after you have met your yearly
Exclusions These are things your
insurance company will not pay for.
This is the highest amount you have to pay by yourself in one
Pre-existing conditions This is a
health problem that you have before your insurance starts.
The amount you or your employer pays for your insurance coverage.
This usually comes out of your paycheck.
Programs to Help Florida Residents Pay for Health Care
Chapter 1: Health Care
How Can the Information Desk Help?
The Information Desk is there to help you. A person at the
Information Desk can answer