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United States of America Health

Health care in the United States is provided by many separate legal entities. Health care facilities are largely owned and operated by the private sector. Health insurance is primarily provided by the private sector, with the exception of programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, the Children's Health Insurance Program and the Veterans Health Administration.

At least 15.3% of the population is completely uninsured, and a substantial additional portion of the population (35%) is "underinsured", or not able to cover the costs of their medical needs. More money per person is spent on health care in the United States than in any other nation in the world, and a greater percentage of total income in the nation is spent on health care in the U.S. than in any United Nations member state except for East Timor. Despite the fact that not all citizens are covered, the United States has the third highest public healthcare expenditure per capita.

General Health Protection:

Health - A (H1N1) Swine Influenza
Human cases of A (H1N1) - The World Health Organisation (WHO) have confirmed the swine influenza has moved into the post-pandemic period.  This does not mean the H1N1 viruses has gone away, but expect it to take on the behaviour of a seasonal influenza virus and will continue to circulate for some years to come. You should monitor local media reports for any developments and advice.  You can also check for updates through the ‘Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health - Mosquito Protection
Besides being a general nuisance, mosquitoes can transmit diseases. There are occasional outbreaks of mosquito-born diseases in the United States, including West Nile, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and Dengue.  You should take all precautions against mosquito bites whenever possible and seek medical attention immediately if feeling unwell.

To protect against insect bites, follow the following prevention:
  • Dusk and Dawn - avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, during the dusk and dawn hours.
  • Dress - wear clothing that covers skin.
  • DEET - use mosquito repellents including DEET on skin and clothing.
  • Drainage - Empty all areas of standing water, a breeding ground for mosquitoes. 
HIV/AIDS
In the 2008 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic the UNAIDS/WHO Working Group estimated that around 1,100,000 adults aged 15 or over in the USA were living with HIV; the prevalence rate was estimated at around 0.6% of the adult population. This compares to the prevalence rate in adults in the UK of around 0.2%.  You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS.

You should seek medical advice before travelling to the USA and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up-to-date.  For further information on vaccination requirements, health outbreaks and general disease protection and prevention.

Travellers to New York should be aware of the risk of rabies from racoons in Central Park and Morningside Park.

Medical Facilities
Medical treatment can be very expensive; there are no special arrangements for British visitors. The British Embassy and Consulates-General cannot assist you with medical expenses. You should ensure that you have comprehensive medical insurance, which includes hospital treatment and medical evacuation to the UK.

Emergencies
To reach a doctor in an emergency, call the emergency medical and ambulance service at number 100 or 112. Telephone 100 or 112 may be used for all emergencies. Ambulance services are provided at any time of the day or night and will transport the patient to the nearest hospital. An attendant accompanies the ambulance; depending on the case, a member of the family and/or doctor may accompany the patient as well. You may also call the "Doctor on Duty" ("Dokter van wacht" - "Médecin de Garde"), indicated in your local newspaper, or the closest clinic or hospital.

Regular Service
All doctors are listed alphabetically in the telephone directory under the heading "Dokters in de Geneeskunde" - "Docteurs en Médecine", we have listed some English speaking doctors, according to their specialty. A number of clinics and hospitals are also listed.

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