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Finding a family doctor?

Finding a family doctor?

Old Aug 23rd 2010, 1:57 pm
  #1  
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Default Finding a family doctor?

Other than checking they are in our insurance network is there any easy way of going about it other than picking a name out the phone book?

I have a couple of personal recommendations but they are too far away from us really. Is there anything particular I should ask or any qualifications I should look out for?
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Old Aug 23rd 2010, 3:34 pm
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Default Re: Finding a family doctor?

If you have the time, interview them. Most will be happy to schedule some time for you to meet with them in a non-healthcare visit to talk about what they offer, what they specialize in, what hospitals they can admit to (potentially very important by the way), what their treatment philosophy is, if you need or want a referral how easy will it be to get, if you need a recurring prescription will they write you a script for a good number of refills or will they make you come in and be seen, etc.

Qualifications really depend on any special needs you have. If you have a specific condition then look for a doctor who knows and is interested in it. Admitting privileges are quite important, especially if there are competing hospital systems around you and one of more is not covered by your insurance. It wouldn't be good to have to be admitted to a hospital only to find that your doctor can't do it for one you are insured at.

Basically though you are after somebody you are comfortable with, who you can talk to and ask question, who will treat you with respect and as an individual, and who knows their stuff.
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Old Aug 23rd 2010, 3:47 pm
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Default Re: Finding a family doctor?

Thanks - really helpful! I never even gave a thought to hospital admissions... good thing I asked here
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Old Aug 23rd 2010, 5:24 pm
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Default Re: Finding a family doctor?

You will be lucky to find anything like the 'GP' you have in the UK, one of the things that I don't like here is that mostly the kids (until age 17 for us) had to see a pediatrician, we (hubby and I) saw a family practise Dr, so we never had the same practise for all of us (until this year) You get used to the differences. As Duncan said, interview Dr's if you can, the question about going into the office every time you need a refill can be important, most Dr's charge a co-pay even if you are just going in for a refill. If you can find one that will refill a regular prescription by phone, it will cut down the costs.
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Old Aug 23rd 2010, 9:17 pm
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Default Re: Finding a family doctor?

Your insurance company, they should have a section on their website on finding who they cover, should break it down by radius of your address and specialities as well as if they are taking new patients, just tick whatever you fancy and then call those who match up. Should also say if they are affiliated with any particular hospital or not, which should be useful if there's a particular hospital you would rather use in the event than not.

See if anyone can recommend any on the list too.

Oh and when calling them up, ask to see who will cover for them in case they are on holiday, out with a patient etc, and what their policy is for weekend visits and after hour calls.
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Old Aug 24th 2010, 1:54 am
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Default Re: Finding a family doctor?

Originally Posted by NatashaB View Post
Other than checking they are in our insurance network is there any easy way of going about it other than picking a name out the phone book?

I have a couple of personal recommendations but they are too far away from us really. Is there anything particular I should ask or any qualifications I should look out for?
After 35 years in the same HMO, we shifted to a PPO this year. So I am new at this.

For my primary doc, a friend recommend the one he used -- she was on the preferred provider list and was accepting patients. BTW, absent medical records from home, it is a good idea to have an intake meeting which is basically taking the medical history of you and your family [e.g. did an uncle die of cancer, things like that]. The only other thing she did at our first meeting was the standard, weight, height, temperature and blood pressure. Doc disapproved of the blood pressure regime prior doc had me on and she changed it. Lab tests were then ordered [included in our coverage] and a physical was set for a few weeks later. After the complete physical, a few other lab tests were ordered.

The results of one lab test caused the doc to want to see me personally to discuss the results. It wasn't super urgent, but it wasn't something that should wait either -- however, the nurse did not communicate any urgency at all. I don't know whose fault that is, but it bothers me. My blood pressure regime was changed again and I now have to see a specialist.

BTW, the term "GP" or "general practitioner" has gone by the wayside stateside. Every one became a specialist. So there is now a specialty for "Family Practice!" Really. Otherwise, most people have an internist as primary doc.

No matter what type of coverage you have, you will have to learn to navigate the system you are under.
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Old Aug 24th 2010, 3:29 am
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Default Re: Finding a family doctor?

If you get a doc that has an urgent care clinic aswell you should be able to go evenings and weekends for your regular copay. I know there are a few offices like that in my area. That way you won't have to call to get approval for the urgent care visits or wait until Monday. Some free standing urgent care clinics can also be picked as your primary care option too.
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Old Aug 25th 2010, 12:16 am
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Default Re: Finding a family doctor?

The phone book, but don't look for doctors but look for doctor finder. These are services, often provided by hospitals, that give you some info on doctors in your area, everything from academic background to bedside manner. Often you'll find it in the front of the phonebook in the community services section.

But double check the insurance list too to see if they are allowed with your plan.
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