How To Find The Best Primary Care Physician For Your Needs
Choosing a primary care physician to work with is the most effective way to ensure that all of your medical needs are handled properly, safely, and effectively long-term. Because you'll be creating and maintaining a personal relationship with your primary care doctor, you can expect to receive care that is tailored around your family history and personal health circumstances. Your doctor will get to know your lifestyle habits and stress levels so they can provide you with customized care as time goes on. Here is how you can find the best primary care physicians to work with who can meet your specific needs and preferences:
Work With Your Insurance Company
Before starting your search for a new primary care physician, it's important to contact your insurance company and request a list of primary doctors in your area who accept your policy as payment. This will help you quickly narrow down your options to those who are willing to work with your insurance company's payment schedule. Once you know which doctors accept your insurance policy, you can contact their offices to find out which ones will bill your insurance company directly and which ones will require you to do the legwork in order to make sure that your services are paid for.
Consider Appointment Availability
Once you start your search for a primary care physician, take the time to find out about appointment availability among each potential doctor you consider working with. It's a good idea to ask a series of questions about making appointments when inquiring to ensure that you get the full picture of how quickly you can expect to be seen by your doctor. In addition to a list of questions you may already have, include the following:
What days and hours does the doctor accept appointments?
How far in advance do appointments need to be made?
Are emergency and same-day appointments available?
How long before each appointment should patients arrive?
Can appointments be made using email and fax in addition to phone scheduling?
The answers to these questions should provide you enough insight to know whether or not a potential doctor will be able to meet your health care needs throughout the year without having to sacrifice convenience.
Schedule a Consultation Appointment
It is also imperative to schedule a consultation with each potential primary care physician you consider working with before you make an initial appointment for care. This will give you a chance to get to know each doctor and ensure you get along enough to build a trusting relationship with each other as time goes on. You'll also have the opportunity to ask one-on-one questions of potential doctors to gain some understanding about how they practice medicine overall. For instance, you can take the time to learn about the types of treatments offered for any specific health issues you're dealing with and find out whether or not potential doctors are willing to work with other care providers you may consult, such as a chiropractor or acupuncturist.
Learn about Active Staff Members
You should also learn about any active staff members potential primary care physicians rely on before choosing who to work with long-term. While many doctors perform all hands-on healthcare tasks themselves, some utilize nurse practitioners and other medical professionals to handle things like intake evaluations, basic check-ups, and x-rays. Make sure the doctor you choose to work with handles the majority of care tasks within their practice and that you know exactly what kinds of services and treatments you can expect other staff members to perform. If staff members will be providing you with at least part of your care, ask to meet with them in person during your consultation if possible.
Using these tips and tricks, you should be able to find the perfect fit for your long-term health care needs and ensure that you're well taken care of in the event of a medical emergency.