France offers excellent care and facilities, but the 35-hour work week has led to difficulties in staffing and closures are not uncommon in the provinces. There is also a shortage of certain specialists. Hospitals (hôpital) and clinics (clinique) are indicated with the international hospital sign of a red “H” on a white background and the emergency room of a hospital is known as urgencies. Hospitals are listed in the yellow pages under Hôpitaux Hospicios et. There are both public and private facilities. For non-urgent hospital treatment, finding information about reimbursement before check-in in a document that indicates your rights should be available wherever you are admitted.
There are three categories of public hospitals: Hospital centers or short-stay hospitals (corte hôpital de séjour) Middle stay centers (center de séjour moyen): mid-stay hospitals are usually for patients who have been previously treated in a short-stay hospital. They contain facilities for convalescence, occupational and physical therapy, and recuperative treatment for drug and alcohol abuse and mental illness. Long-term treatment centers (long stay center and unité): long-term treatment centers are for those who cannot fend for themselves without help and are psychiatric hospitals and nursing homes (maisons de retraite).
Private hospitals (Hospital privé) and clinics (clinique)
Most private hospitals specialize in the care of inpatients in specific fields of medicine, such as obstetrics. The cost of treatment in a private hospital or clinic is usually much more facilities than in a public hospital, but private can also have an agreement around 30 percent of the fees paid by social security. Patients who do not feel comfortable with French may prefer private care with a majority of English speaking staff. CHU are where medical students carry out their training. They are classified among the best hospitals in France and teachers and managers must receive intensive training to ensure their appointments.
The main hospitals in Paris
American Hospital in Paris (63 Boulevard Victor Hugo, 92200 Neuilly, 01 46 41 25 25 or 01 47 47 70 15 for emergencies) – Provides emergency services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with a bilingual staff (French -English)Ambroise Parc Surgical Center (27 Blvd Victor Hugo 92200 Neuilly sur Seine Paris France 33 1 46 41 88 88)Bichat Claude-Bernard (46 rue Henri-Huchard, 75018 Paris, 33 1 40 25 80 80)Hôtel Dieu (1 place du Parvis Notre-Dame, 75004 Paris, 33 1 42 34 82 34)Broussais (96 rue Didot, 75014 Paris, 33 1 43 95 95 95)Cochin (27 rue du Faubourg Saint Jacques, 75014 Paris, 33 1 58 41 41 41)Pitié-Salpetrière (47-83 boulevard de l’Hôpital, 75013 Paris, 33 1 42 16 00 00)Hôpital Saint-Antoine (184 rue du Fauborg Saint-Antoine, 75012 Paris, 33 1 49 28 20 00)
Under French law, any health organization, public or private, must treat patients in an emergency situation regardless of their ability to pay. The general emergency number is 112 and the number of SAMU (ambulance) 15. After 17:30 and on weekends, contact hospitals: La Pitié, Hôtel Dieu, Lariboisière, Necker, Bichat.
Pharmacies (Pharmacie) can be found anywhere with many locations. They can be identified by their intermittent green crosses. Schedule from Monday to Saturday, usually between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The main supermarkets usually have a pharmacy counter and they are open during the hours that the market is open. During the closing hours, there will be a select number of pharmacies to provide after hours (garde service). A notice in the window should inform you of the nearest open pharmacy. Social security reimburses the cost of essential drugs for diseases or conditions (insulin, blood pressure medications) and 65 percent of medications designated as important (with white labels) and 35 percent for comfort medications (blue labels). Some medications are not reimbursed, like more birth control pills. The refund is determined by a removable label (bullet) in the box that is removed and used for the claim form. Pharmacies with an updated computer system uses the Carte Vitale and the refund is handled immediately.
Dental care (dentaires soins) works in a similar way to general medical services, but there is no need to be referred by a general practitioner. 70% reimbursement is available in the social security system. For emergency work on a Sunday or a holiday, there is an additional charge, but this may be refundable. Recommendations from friends, colleagues and neighbors is the best way to find a dentist. Listings can also be found under “Dental Surgeons” in the Yellow Pages.
In France, if you are part of Social Security, you will be able to freely choose the Health specialists you want to receive (doctors, dentists, private clinics, hospitals, etc.). If you have an international insurance, you should advise on the sites to which you can go to receive care, since there may be certain medical centers in which (and only in them), your insurance provider will cover your treatment.
How to choose a doctor or hospital
Almost all Health professionals, as well as hospitals in France, have an agreement with the Social Security (conventionné), which implies charging the fees at standard rates. The first thing you should do then is to verify – before your first visit – is whether the hospital or professional you plan to attend is conventionné. Remember that private clinics are generally not included in this group. If you forget it and it turns out that they are not (conventionné), the Social Security reimbursements will be lower than usual and even an additional private insurance (mutuelle) may not cover them in full. To access to a list of doctors and health care centers, you can consult the yellow pages of the telephone directory: http://www.pagesjaunes.fr/ (in English and French).
Appointments with health professionals are made with an anticipation of 2 or 3 days and only by phone. For an appointment with specialists, appointments should be made 1 or two weeks in advance. Appointments for public hospital care may take a few months.