Hotel House Calls

If you get sick while staying at a hotel and don’t know who to call, check with the concierge. They’ll probably refer you to a local on-call physician service such as House Call Physicians (800-DOCS 911), which covers the Western region of the U.S. or HouseMed Inc./MediClinic (407-396-1195), which operates in Orlando, Florida. These services mainly handle nonemergency conditions, and if you’ve left medication at home, they can often write prescriptions or even bring replacement medication right to your hotel room.

They claim to save you time and money. The average wait in an emergency room for noncritical cases is two to four hours. House Call Physicians says its fee–an average cost of $150 per visit–can save you up to 53%, depending on your medical problem.

Don’t call just any of the services that advertise in the Yellow Pages and have displays in hotel lobbies. Find out who the hotel recommends, or whether they have a specific house physician. When you call a service to ask about credentials, ask what area hospitals it is affiliated with, and check with those hospitals. If the company is sketchy about its affiliations, don’t use it.

Teaching hospitals are another option to explore. Check your Yellow Pages for listings. Whatever you choose, remember to carry along your insurance card when you travel.

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