Department of Emergency Medicine Frequently Asked Questions

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Many questions can also be answered by reading through the entire Emergency Department admittance process and in PDF format Emergency_Department_Process.

Billing and co-payments

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Who can I call if I have a billing question?
If you have a billing question for a hospital bill you can call 617-355-7086.  This is our customer service line.  If you have received a bill we encourage you to look for a phone number on the bill as the bill may actually be a Physician bill which is not handled through Children’s Hospital.  If you are unsure, please call the Emergency Department at 617-355-6611 and we can assist you in finding the correct billing office.

Why do I have a co-pay if I was just here? /If my primary care physician refers me, do I still have to pay my co-pay?
As many insurance carriers are different we encourage you to call your insurance customer service line.  Of note, Children’s Hospital has a contractual obligation with your insurance company to collect the co-pay for each visit in the amount listed on your health insurance card.

How do I find out if I have an emergency visit co-pay?
As many insurance carriers are different we encourage you to call your insurance customer service line.  Helpful Note: Most insurance companies give co-pay breakdown information on the insurance card. We will be happy to locate this on the card for you. 

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Appointments and follow-up

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After I am discharged from the emergency department, who do I follow up with?
After your Emergency Department visit you will receive discharge instructions that provide information about appropriate follow-up form the Emergency Department visit.  If you do not have these discharge instructions please call the emergency department at 617-355-6611 and ask to speak with a physician about your recent visit.

Can I call to schedule an appointment to ensure a spot in line?
Unfortunately you cannot make an appointment to be seen in the emergency department. All children who arrive for care are evaluated by a nurse who determines which patients are sickest or most injured and require immediate care. These children may be seen ahead of your child. In addition, some children are cared for in a separate area and may be moved to the Fast Track Reception Area to await care in a different section of the department.

Who can I call to ask how long the wait is?
Unfortunately, given the unpredictability of the emergency environment, it is very difficult for us to give accurate wait time over the phone.  If you are concerned about your or your child’s, health, please come to the Emergency Department for an appropriate medical screening and care.

If my primary care physician calls ahead of time, can I go right in?
We pay close attention to the advance information from your PCP. However, we still need to see the sickest children first. We make every effort to see all children in as timely a way as possible.

Why are patients who arrived after me called ahead of me?
All children who arrive for care are evaluated by a nurse who determines which patients are sickest or most injured and require immediate care. These children may be seen ahead of your child. In addition, some children are cared for in a separate area and may be moved to the Fast Track Reception Area to await care in a different section of the department. 

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Amenities

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Can I use my cell phone in the emergency department?
The experience of the patients and families is important to us.  Though use of cell phones in the Emergency Department is allowed, we ask that you make your best efforts to minimize phone calls and keep your conversations as quiet as possible. 

Where can I get something to eat or drink?
The hospital has an excellent cafeteria as well as an Au Bon Pain in the main lobby. Please speak with the Emergency Department staff while here as the hours of operation for both places may vary depending on the time or day.  Of note, after presenting to the Emergency Department it is important to check with your nurse or a clinician before you, or your child, eat or drink as this might impact the patient’s plan of care.

Can I smoke outside the hospital?
There is a smoking area outside the hospital doors and to the left, near the ambulance entrance. No smoking is allowed anywhere inside the hospital.

Where are the restrooms?
Restrooms are located in the reception area. If the restrooms need supplies or cleaning, please let one of the triage nurses know. Diaper changing stations are located in the men's and women's room.

Is there an ATM nearby?
There are two Bank of America ATM machines on the first floor of the Pavilion Building.

Is there a telephone nearby?
There are two telephones in the area near the exam rooms for patients and families to make local calls at no cost. Please keep the calls short. There are also two pay phones in the reception area.

How much does parking cost?
The registration clerk will stamp parking tickets for the Children's garage. This garage is directly across the street from the main driveway to the hospital. Families with stamped tickets pay a reduced fee for parking.

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Questions and concerns

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Who can I contact if I have a complaint?
Our goal is to provide excellent care for all patients so your feedback is very important to us.  The best way to let us know that you have concerns about the care you received is to contact our Patient Relations office at 617-355-7673.  They will coordinate your concerns with the Emergency Department Leadership.

When I call can I speak to my/a doctor or a nurse (seeking medical advice)?
As much as we would like to help with your child’s condition, Federal regulations prohibit us from providing medical advice over the phone. We encourage you to call or visit your PCP with questions or, if you feel your child has an emergency condition, please come directly to the Emergency Department and we will be glad to provide you with an appropriate medical screening and care.

Who do I talk to if I have questions about my child's care?
During your visit to the emergency department if you have questions or concerns that your child's doctor or nurse cannot answer, please ask to speak to the attending physician or charge nurse.

More about visiting Boston Children's Hospital.

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Request an Appointment

If this is a medical emergency, please dial 9-1-1. This form should not be used in an emergency.

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Send RequestIf you do not see the specialty you are looking for, please call us at: 617-355-6000.International visitors should call International Health Services at +1-617-355-5209.
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This department is currently not accepting appointment requests online. Please call us at: 617-355-6000. International +1-617-355-6000.

This department is currently not accepting appointment requests online. Please call us at: 617-355-6000. International +1-617-355-6000.

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You will be contacted within 1 business day.

If you have questions or would like more information, please call:

617-355-6000 +1-617-355-6000
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