A life or death emergency must be treated on time to prevent compromising the health of affiliates.
Medical Advisor: Julián Villegas, National Director of Health Risk, Management for Coomeva Private Healthcare
A life or death emergency is any medical condition that places a person at an imminent risk of death or of experiencing a serious health problem. The medical attention provided through the urgent care services of any healthcare institution, regardless of the network of providers established for the insurance plan’s enrollees, must therefore be immediate and urgent. For Coomeva Private Healthcare, it is important that its affiliates remember that what is considered to be a life or death emergency for them, may not be classified as such in the healthcare system.
In order to best use their resources and give priority to the right people, healthcare institutions use the triage system which consists in an initial assessment of the patients seeking emergency medical care by the facility’s doctors. This helps prioritize medical care based off of an assessment of the vital signs and symptoms indicated by the patient.
“For us, all of the conditions our affiliates are experience are important, but sometimes there are cases that are more urgent and must be given priority,” states Julián Villegas, National Director of Health Risk Management at Coomeva Private Healthcare.
A triage system helps to ensure that those who are seeking emergency care are assessed in a fast and orderly way. It helps identify those who require immediate medical attention – reducing the risk of death, complications or disability – and provides an initial picture of the situation with complete information
Seeking out other services
Before seeking out emergency care, keep in mind that insurance companies such as Coomeva Private Healthcare also have health lines, where users can consult with general physicians or specialty physicians 24 hours a day. This can help affiliates avoid long waits in emergency rooms.
- Types of emergencies: The following are examples of medical conditions that are generally classified as triage 1 or 2: loss of consciousness, severe bleeding, possible heart attack (pain in the chest associated with the left arm and problems with vital signs), respiratory distress, coughing or vomiting blood, changes in vision, hypertension that cannot be controlled, trauma, extensive burns and severe diarrhea.
- Services that can be provided during an emergency: specialized medical care, diagnostic tests, care for pregnant women, medical interventions, medical procedures, surgery, ambulatory services, hospitalization, prescriptions, provision of medications, and health promotion and prevention.
Levels of triage:
Level 1. Immediate medical attention is required as the patient’s condition is a matter of life or death and resuscitation is needed.
Level 2. The patient’s condition may rapidly deteriorate, they may face imminent death, or there is a high risk that they may lose a limb or organ. These first two situations require medical attention no longer than 20 minutes after the patient has reached the medical facility.
Level 3. The patient needs emergency treatment or diagnostic testing. An additional test or immediate test is needed. While their condition is stable, it can deteriorate. Medical care should be administered no longer than 30 to 45 minutes after their arrival.
Level 4. The person has a condition that does not compromise their overall state of health and does not represent an obvious risk. However, medical attention must be administered in order to avoid complications.
Level 5. The patient has acute or chronic problems that do not deteriorate or compromise their state of health •
Source: The Ministry of Health of Colombia.