Need to see a doctor? How to avoid a $200 deposit at Memorial’s emergency room

Memorial Hospital at Gulfport
Memorial Hospital at Gulfport

Memorial Hospital at Gulfport announced in early October that it was changing its emergency room policy, which goes into effect Wednesday.

Patients who are deemed “non-urgent” will be asked to go to a walk-in clinic. But those who insist on using the ER will be asked to pay their insurance co-pay or pay a $200 deposit before they are treated.

The hospital said the changes are not a cost-saving measure. They’ve seen an increase from 9,000 a year to 13,000 a year in hospital admissions from the ER for people with severe illnesses or injuries.

Memorial released a list that tells patients when to go to the ER and when to go to a clinic.

Go to the ER

  • chest pain
  • stroke symptoms
  • head injury
  • severe bleeding
  • abdominal pain
  • loss of consciousness
  • difficulty breathing
  • lacerations, cuts and puncture wounds
  • any life-threatening situation

Go to a clinic

  • fever
  • colds or flu
  • ear infections
  • rashes and burns
  • insect bites
  • sore throats
  • digestive discomfort
  • urinary tract infections
  • any minor condition

If you’re unsure where to go

Officials at Memorial Hospital at Gulfport can help patients determine if they should see an ER doctor or if they should go to a clinic. The ER can also provide information about clinics to “non-urgent” patients.

The hospital says many of their clinics are open after 5 p.m. and on weekends.

Justin Mitchell: 228-604-0705, @JustinMitchell_