Where to Go for Medical Care
If you feel sick or get injured and it is not an emergency, the first place you should go is Student Medical Services (SMS) on campus. Many of the services provided are free. SMS is staffed by nurses and, on a limited basis, a doctor. Though you could also go to a doctor’s office off-campus, it often requires an appointment and some doctors may not accept new or short-term patients. The SMS staff will refer you to a doctor if necessary. The town of Hilo also has several “urgent care centers” and clinics that do not require appointments and provide a variety of treatments. Unless your sickness or injury is very serious or life threatening, avoid going to the emergency room at the Hilo hospital because it can be very expensive. In an emergency situation, you can call 911.
If a doctor or nurse gives you a prescription for medicine, you will need to take it to a pharmacy to receive your medicine. UH Hilo has a small pharmacy on campus, and there are many other pharmacies in Hilo.
Depending in what type of health insurance plan you have, you may need to pay the full price for your medications. However, keep copies of your receipts. You can submit a “claim” (which means a request to have your health insurance pay for the cost of medication or medical care) to your insurance company to get some money back.
Though seeking medical attention in the U.S. may seem intimidating, you can be sure that you will be receiving some of the highest quality medical treatments available. If you are sick or injured, please put your safety first and seek proper medical attention.