5 Questions You Should Ask Before Choosing a Healthcare Provider
Choosing a doctor is a decision that will affect not only your health but your experience with healthcare in general. Here are five things you should consider before choosing a healthcare provider.
1. Is this physician covered by your insurance?
This is very important, as you will likely need to find a doctor who is covered by your insurance policy. If you have already found a doctor that you like but are unsure as to whether they are covered or not, call your insurance company and give them the name of the physician you would like to see.
If you get a new job or a new insurance policy, you should also check to make sure that the doctor you are currently seeing is still covered by your plan. If you settle on a doctor that is not covered by your insurance, you should speak with them and get a clear idea of what you can expect your out of pocket expenses to be with them.
2. Is the doctor in good standing with state licensing agencies?
You can check to see whether the doctor you are considering has had any type of criminal or disciplinary action taken against them by looking them up on an online directory, which contains a public record of any instances like this. One such site is the Administrators in Medicine, which is comprehensive and very easy to use.
3. What is the general impression you get in speaking with their office?
While it is certainly true that many good doctors do not have the best office staff, there is something to be said about taking a look at the way a physician’s office is run. If the front office staff seems frantic or disorganized, there is a good chance that this attitude and behavior will also be prevalent in the examination room.
A disorganized office may also mean problems with record keeping, or that certain important messages are not being given to doctors. If you are considering a new doctor, you may want to schedule an in person visit, which will allow you to assess the office staff, as well as give you a chance to speak one on one with your potential doctor.
4. Are you going to this doctor for a specific issue, or are you looking for a primary care physician?
Your primary care doctor is your “headquarters” when it comes to your health care. They will be the person who oversees your general health and refers you to specialists when necessary. They will likely work with you on preventative care, such as diet and lifestyle choices, which will hopefully help you avoid serious health risks.
A specialist is someone you see for a specific procedure, such as a mammogram, or for a specific disorder or disease, such as psoriasis. You may very well be referred to a specialist by your primary care physician. If this is the case, ask them if they have more than one person they can recommend to you and ask for the most important things you should know about each specialist he or she recommends. Make sure that you also speak with your insurance company to confirm coverage before seeing a new specialist.
5. How convenient is this doctors office to you?
Seemingly small factors like parking and distance from your house are actually important to consider, particularly because you may be visiting this office frequently at one time or another. Remember that when leaving after a procedure, you also may not be feeling your best, so try to find an office that is as comfortable and hassle free as possible.