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If you are travelling with children or anyone who has health needs or limitations, here are some tips that may help:
For Emergency Police Assistance in the United States - CALL 911
The Central Florida area is policed by various public safety agencies including city police, highway patrol, and county sheriff departments, in addition to these departments, most major theme parks and resorts also have their own private security forces that assist with on-property security needs and monitor public safety. Just as in any major city or tourism destination, it is very important to always be aware of your surroundings and be a vigilant traveler at all times. Here is a listing of local public safety agencies, main jurisdiction areas, and non-emergency contact information:
Orlando Police - (321) 235-5300 - Universal Area / North I-Drive / Downtown Orlando / Mall at Millenia Area
Orlando Police Airport Division - (407) 825-2065 - Orlando International Airport (MCO)
Orange County Sheriff - (407) 254-7000 - Disney Area / South I-Drive / Convention Center / SeaWorld Area / Other Areas
Florida Highway Patrol - (850) 617-2000 - Interstate Highways / Toll Roads / Other Areas
Osceola County Sheriff - (407) 348-2222 - Animal Kingdom Area / Gaylord Palms / Kissimmee
UCF Police - (407) 823-5555 - University of Central Florida Campus
Disney Security (Non-Police) - (407) 560-7959 (General) / (407) 560-1990 (Urgent Non-Emergency)
Foreign Visitors / Right to contact embassy
The US is a very diverse country and we are pleased welcome so many people from all over the world to come stay and visit our great nation. While most visits are hassle free, there is the odd occasion that things go wrong and visitors end up dealing with local law enforcement, often for innocent mistakes. While in the United States you are subject to the laws of both the Federal US Government, and also of the State of Florida; both of which differ greatly from the laws of other nations. If you are questioned by a law enforcement agent you should know that it is your right under US law, to not answer any questions, including those that might incriminate you. If arrested, you should follow all commands, be willing to prove your identity, and remain calm, without arguing, to avoid additional charges like resisting arrest. When the law enforcement officer has you detained you should politely inform he/she that you are a foreign national and need to be put in contact with the embassy and an attorney before you will answer any questions. If they try to ask questions again, simply repeat the same information. A good phrase to use is, "I am pleading the fifth, and will not answer any questions until I have been in contact with the (country) embassy and a competent attorney.
All the theme parks have First Aid Center's that are able to provide very minor assistance with simple first aid. The First Aid Center is most usually marked by a Medical cross symbol on the park maps, you can also ask any park staff member and they will direct you there. Some centers will have facilities available to refrigerate needed medications like insulin. While they do carry a simple first aid kit, they cannot diagnose and/or treat medical conditions.
When prescriped medication you will usually need to select a pharmacy at which to fill it. The cost of medication at pharmacies can vary enormously from pharmacy to pharmacy and there is no rule on which pharmacy is the cheapest as some pharmacies are cheaper on some medications, and significantly more expensive on others. Example: as of 8/28/2014 the retail cost for a month supply of generic Liptor 10mg is $30 at Walmart, $105.99 at CVS and $109.99 at Walgreens.
If you do not have medical insurance it is a good idea to shop you medication cost. One excellent way of shopping pharmacy costs is through a free prescription drug price shopping tool like GoodRX whereby major pharmacies offer low rates on medications to win your business. Using these services significantly lowers the cost of many medications (example, the medication list above is only $16.16 at Walgreens and Walmart through GoodRX). To get the lower price all you need to do is print the free coupon on give to the pharmacy. Alternatively you can use the free GoodRX smartphone app and use an electronic coupon.
Publix Pharmacies offers some of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics to all patients at no cost.
An urgent care center is a medical clinic designed to provide non-emergency medical care. They treat a wide variety of issues from minor fractures and sprains, to infections, diarrhea, and acute pain and headaches. Most have some x-ray and basic lab facilities allowing them to more cost effectively some issue like minor fractures that would otherwise be treated at a hospital. Florida Hospital Centra Care is the region's largest operator of urgent care centers with convenient locations throughout Orlando, some locations are open 24 hours a day and staffed by medical doctors. They provide complimentary transportation to/from your resort hotel if you call them in advance and make an appointment, though appointments are not required to be seen. Urgent care centers typically see patients of all ages.
There are a number of pediatric urgent care centers that provide more child friendly care from birth to 18/21 depending on the facility. NIght Light Pediatrics is one such facilities that has many locations in Orlando, and is open till Midnight 7 days a week.
For simple acute illness and preventive care cost effective care can be provided by retail care clinics, located in many Walgreens and CVS locations. They treat minor illnesses, colds/flu, sprains, and provide routine vaccinations and some preventive care. They are usually staffed by Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners who can prescripe non-controlled medications as needed. Minute Clinic locations are available at select CVS Pharmacy stores. These facilites cost significantly less than the emergency room or urgent care centers, however they do only treat more simple issues.
Another emerging method of cost effective healthcare is telemedicine where you speak with a physican via a webcam, or on your cell phone using a wifi connection. These services provide care for simple issues similar the a retail health clinic, and offer 1 time refills of most of your regular medicine should you forget it at home. Cost is lower than urgent care and retail clinics, and the wait time to speak to a doctor is often only a few minutes. DoctorOnDemand is one such provider owned by tv personality Dr Phil. The current cost is $40 per visit. You can either download their app on your iPhone or Android phone, or use a laptop with webcam. MeMD is another service. MeMD is accessed from a laptop and the current cost is $49.95 per visit.
Consult-A-Nurse is a free 24 hour service provided by a number of local hospital. When you call you will speak with a Registered Nurse who can provide general medical information, and help you determine the best type of medical facility to see (if needed).
In a medical emergency immediately CALL 911
In the unfortunate event that you need emergency care or access to a hospital, Orlando has an excellent network of local hospitals and emergency medical centers. The cost for emergency care in the United States is extremely expensive, so it is advised to carry adequate insurance coverage as a precaution. Under Federal law, an emergency room cannot deny emergency treatment to a patient, even if they do not have the financial means to pay for it. You cannot be arrested for being unable to pay a medical bill. For this reason, ER's are often overburdened with people who cannot otherwise afford healthcare. This has led to a strong effort over the last 2 years to combat overutilization of ER resources. One method now popular in Florida is the created a an ER fast track, whereby patients with non-emergent issues can be treated quickly without being admitted to the ER If the triage nurse determines who does your assessmen determines that a patient is having a minor issue they will refer them to the fast track. This provides faster, more cost effective service. Some hospitals require payment, or a minimal payment prior to providing fast track care. Here is a list of the main local hospitals, links to their websites, and their phone numbers:
Orlando Regional Medical Center (Regional Level 1 Trauma Center) - 321-841-5111
Florida Hospital Orlando - 407-303-5600
Dr. P Phillips Hospital (I-Drive Area) - 407-351-8500
Florida Hospital Celebration Health (Disney Area) - 407-764-4000
Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children (Children Only) - 407-649-9111
Florida Hospital East Orlando - 407-303-8110
Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies (Women & Babies Only) - 321-843-9792