How To Choose A Primary Care Physician
Maybe you’re changing your health insurance provider or just aren’t happy with your current primary care physician. Whatever the reason, choosing a new primary care physician can sometimes be a daunting task, simply because there are so many choices.
There is also a wealth of information available on primary care physicians that you can review in order to make an informed decision. Just a few clicks of the mouse can provide you with everything you need to choose a primary care physician.
A Little Research is Important
A primary care physician is someone you will be seeing on a regular basis. Your primary care physician will also be the person who can provide referrals for specialists, and will know your medical history best.
These resources can give you great insight into both the primary care physician and the entire practice in general. Various services might also be graded to give you an idea of where the practice excels and where it may be lacking. Which brings us to the next important factor to consider when choosing a primary care physician…
Does the Primary Care Physician Accept Your Insurance Coverage?
Health insurance coverage options are always in a state of change from year-to-year, and coverage that was accepted at one office last year may no longer be accepted the following year. Before choosing a primary care physician, make sure that your preferred insurance coverage is accepted at the practice, or you will find yourself paying a lot more for out-of-network charges, or even fully out of your own pocket.
Many health insurance providers have a tool on their website to enable you to look up the list of practices and primary care physicians that accept the insurance coverage. Or, you could simply call the practice and ask if they accept your insurance.
Do You Need a Physician With a Particular Type of Expertise?
Many primary care physicians also specialize in an area of medicine. Knowing the difference between the different types of practices can help you make a decision when choosing a primary care physician.
A Family Practice is one in which the physician treats everyone in the family, from babies to seniors. The physicians can diagnose and treat a wide range of ailments, making this practice a good choice if you have a family.
The General Practice physician can also treat a wide range of ailments and sees patients of all ages, but also typically specializes in another branch of medicine.
Internal Medicine primarily treat adults, and specialize in more serious health conditions and diseases.
Is Location an Issue?
How far are you willing to drive to meet your primary care physician for an appointment? If a close, convenient location is very important to you, then you can further narrow down your choices by ruling out primary care physicians that are located outside your preferred traveling distance.
Also, consider the office hours of the practice. Are they convenient for you and our own schedule? Is the practice open on weekends? This may be of particular importance if you have children.
Ask for Recommendations
Sometimes your friends and other family members can easily recommend a great primary care physician. It is also a good idea to visit a few offices to see if you feel comfortable there.
Being comfortable with both the primary care physicians and the nurses and other staff is important if you plan on seeing them often. Take the time to talk to a potential primary care physician about your health concerns. You should know at the end of the appointment if the physician is a viable choice or not.