A medical emergency is when you believe that your health is in serious danger — when every second counts. You may have a bad injury, sudden illness, or an illness quickly getting much worse. You should only seek emergency care if you believe that your life or health or your child’s life or health is in serious danger. (This includes your unborn baby if you are pregnant.) If you seek emergency care when you know it’s not an emergency, you will have to pay the bill. Medicaid and ARKids First will only pay for emergency care that is needed to find out what’s wrong or to keep it from getting worse.
Your doctor or hospital does not need to get preauthorization (permission from Medicaid) to treat you in a true emergency.
In an emergency, you have a right to go to any hospital. It’s usually best to go to the nearest hospital. (If it’s not an emergency, you will need a referral from your doctor for hospital care.)
Be ready for an emergency! You don’t know when an emergency will happen, so be ready just in case.
- Ask your doctor’s office if they have an after-hours emergency number. Use this number if your problem is serious, but not life-threatening, like if your child keeps throwing up.
- Find out if your county has 911 service. If it does, call 9-1-1 when you have a serious emergency. Tell the person who answers where you are and what kind of emergency you are having. If you are on a cell phone or wireless phone, you might have to tell the person what city and state you live in.
- If you live in a part of Arkansas that does not have 911 service, you will have to call the fire department, police department, or dial zero (0) for the operator.
- If you’re not sure whether you have 911 service or who to call in an emergency, find out now! Don’t wait until you have an emergency. If you don’t have a telephone, find out where the nearest one is, and make sure your whole family knows.