How to Find the Right Health Care Provider
At times it becomes necessary to seek a new family practitioner or a physician who specializes in a specific area of medicine. The reason for searching for a new physician may be because of moving to a new city, because a family physician retires, or because of changes in a family’s health insurance due to the Affordable Care Act. One possible method of locating a new doctor is to ask the opinions of family, friends, and co-workers. The type of insurance a family possesses may determine who they choose as their family practitioner. In other words, the physician must be “in network.”
When choosing a healthcare giver, it is important to make certain the provider is board certified. Whether a family practitioner or a specialist, it is important the practitioner be board certified. This is accomplished when the physician goes through what is called a fellowship, which involves training in a specific area of medicine. The physician is then qualified to become board certified after passing exams. Most physicians also belong to groups that emphasize their area of specialty, such as the North American Spine Society for spine surgeons. Perhaps the most important item to check out is whether the practitioner is in good standing with his state’s licensing department. Other important information includes any disciplinary actions or lawsuits. This information may be obtained online through websites such as Healthgrades.com or Vitals.com.
There are several elements to investigate before choosing a caregiver:
How long must a patient wait to obtain an appointment? The receptionist is a vital component of the clinic. Is she pleasant on the phone? Does she try to find an appointment that is sooner rather than later?
Where does the doctor have hospital privileges, and what kind of ratings has the hospital received from state surveys?
Does the physician’s clinic process insurance claims or expect the patient to file the claims? If the patient is on Medicare, does the physician accept Medicare?
During the hours the clinic is closed, who is “on call?” Is the physician in a group of other caregivers, who take turns being “on call?”
How far from the patient’s home is the clinic located? Is there ample parking space?
Schedule a “conference appointment,” which is simply an appointment to get to know the physician and ask any pertinent questions. If there are children in the family, the children should attend this appointment in order to observe how the physician interacts with children.
If it is a primary care physician, is she willing to refer to a specialist? A good primary care physician is not threatened if it becomes necessary to refer his patients to a specialist. (“How To Choose a Doctor,” WebMD).
In recent years, physicians and businessmen have banded together to form new companies for the purpose of improving quality of care, expanding the available market, and lowering healthcare costs. Companies such as Nueterra seek to move medicine from a volume-based system to a value-based system. Advanced outpatient surgical procedures are developed, and wellness and prevention are emphasized. Because a large number of physicians belong to such companies, contacting the company is a practical way to seek a new physician.
Choosing a physician of any kind is an intimate decision for an individual or family. The caregiver will be like another member of the family. Therefore, the caregiver chosen must not only be qualified professionally, but the patient must like the provider as well. In others words, it must be a good match, so choose wisely.
About the Author:
My name is Lizzie Weakley and I am a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. I went to college at The Ohio State University where I studied communications. I enjoy the outdoors and long walks in the park with my 3-year-old husky Snowball.
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