Finding a doctor. What’s your strategy?

By Dr GaryCA Latest Activity July 4, 2016 at 11:17 am Views 6,506 Replies 9 Likes 1

Dr Gary

There are all kinds of reasons why a doctor you like working with, and depend on, might no longer be available. He/she might move away. Or join a new practice. Or retire. Your insurance company might also play a hand in deciding who you can work with and who you can’t work with. Maybe you moved. Or the two of you just decided to part ways.
Whatever the reason, it’s tough to lose your doctor.

And it can also be tough to find a new one.

I recently posted an article on what to do when you lose your doctor. Here’s a link:

I’m really interested in knowing how you have handled losing a doctor. And what strategy you have used to find a new doctor. How did you find your way to the doctor you are working with now?

Any advice to share?

Looking forward to hearing about your experiences and ideas!

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Replies (9 replies)

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  • redorangedog
    redorangedog December 4, 2016 at 2:09 pm   

    osing a new primary care physician
    Home Learn BCBS Blog
    Five tips for choosing a new primary care physician
    Doctor and patient
    Five tips for choosing a new primary care physician

    Whether you’re new to Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance, recently moved or are just ready for a change, selecting a primary care physician is an important first step toward managing your healthcare. Your primary care doctor is your medical “home.” It’s the doctor you visit for most medical needs, including wellness visits and routine screenings, non-emergency illnesses like earaches and sore throats, and the person you speak to about your health questions and concerns. If you have an HMO, your primary care physician will also be the person who refers you to see a specialist.

    Some patient-primary care relationships can span decades, while others will be short-lived because you change insurance or move. No matter how long you plan to see your primary care physician, the relationship is an important one. You’ll want to select someone you feel comfortable having honest conversations with, someone with expertise in the areas that meet your health needs, and someone who is “in-network” for your health insurance plan.

    Here are five tips for choosing a new primary care physician:

    1. Determine Which Doctors Are “In-Network”

    Most health plans have negotiated special, discounted rates with certain doctors and hospitals in your area, and you will pay less out of pocket for visiting those doctors, who are called "in-network" for insurance purposes. Ensuring that you select an “in-network” doctor will help you avoid a surprise “out-of-network” charge or having to pay in full out of pocket because the doctor you’ve selected doesn’t accept your insurance plan.

    To find a list of “in-network” doctors and hospitals, search the doctor directory or “provider finder” on your Blue Cross Blue Shield company website, or call the 1-800 number on the back of your member ID card.

    2. Find a Doctor with Expertise that Meets Your Health Needs

    Now that you have the list of in-network doctors, you can begin narrowing it down. There are several different types of doctor that will be identified as a primary care physician - typically Family Practice, Internal Medicine or General Practice. There are also doctors who focus on children, called Pediatricians, who will serve as the primary care physician for your child.

    Family Practice – Family practice physicians are able to treat patients of all ages, from newborns to the elderly. They are generalists who can treat a wide variety of conditions, and often can also treat ailments you’d normally see a specialist for, like sports injuries or some women’s health needs.

    Internal Medicine – Internal medicine physicians typically treat adults and specialize in the prevention, diagnosis and management of disease and chronic conditions.

    General Practice – General Practice physicians are like family practice physicians and can treat patients of any gender or age. This category is one area where you might also find osteopaths, which are physicians that practice a type of alternative medicine with special focus on the musculoskeletal system, and are distinguished by the “D.O.” after their name instead of “M.D.”

    3. Ask for Referrals

    Many people feel most comfortable visiting a physician who is recommended by someone they know, like a family member, co-worker or friend. Ask around and see what doctor your friends and family visit. You can also ask another healthcare professional with whom you have a relationship, like a women’s primary care physician, a pharmacist, or even your dentist for a recommendation. If you’re moving, ask your current doctor if they have a recommendation for your new location.

    4. Think About Logistics

    Do you want a doctor located close to your home or office? Use your Blue Cross Blue Shield company’s doctor directory or “provider finder” to search for doctors with an office location that is convenient for you to visit. You’ll also want to consider office hours – what days and times does the doctor see patients? Will you need to take time off work to visit the office, or can you go after work or on weekends? It’s also a good idea to check what hospital the doctor admits patients to.

    Language is another important factor to check. You need to be able to communicate clearly with your doctor, so check which languages he or she speaks to be sure you’ll be able to understand each other. Many doctors now use email or an online portal to communicate with patients, which may be another item of importance to tech-savvy communicators when selecting a physician.

    5. Visit the Doctor

    Nothing can really give you a feel for whether you’ve selected the right doctor like an office visit and a face-to-face meeting. Be sure you feel comfortable in the office and with the physician and nurses. Your primary care physician should be someone you trust and can rely on to help manage your healthcare. Talk with him or her about any current medications you are taking and your medical history to be sure you are on the same page when it comes to managing any chronic conditions.

    When in the office, you should evaluate other environmental factors. Take into account the demeanor of the people who answer the phone and greet you when you walk in – are they efficient and friendly? Are the phones answered in a timely manner? How far in advance do you need to schedule an appointment? And how long is the wait to see the doctor after you arrive for your appointment?

    If for any reason you are not happy with your choice, most Blue Cross Blue Shield plans allow for you to change your primary care physician anytime during the plan year.

    Ready to get started? Find your Blue Cross Blue Shield company’s website and start browsing the provider finder today.

    By Elizabeth Casey

  • redorangedog
    redorangedog October 30, 2016 at 8:34 pm   

    Finally found a doctor. Called every major medical center & only one doctor called back. I am lucky to find a caring, compassionate, knowledgeable doctor.

  • redorangedog
    redorangedog September 14, 2017 at 11:16 am   

    Does the MD listen? Does the MD write all instructions plainly written. Does the MD give nutritional info. Does the MD take time to talk to you about all your concerns. Are his visits more than 3 minutes? Is the staff friendly and bill your insurance properly? Are they polite to your loved ones? Does the MD give samples of the meds you are on? Will he return all your phone calls? Or does the MD simply tell you to call 911 or go to the ER? Will the doctor make you a direct admit. Will the doc come to the hospital for you. Do your doctors act as a team, giving relevant info to each other? Will the doc provide for Home health after a discharge from the hospital? You needs to take all of this into concern. Will the MD give you copies of all of your lab work? Does the doc have a lab or has to send it elsewhere? Referrals are important. Will the doc write a script for you, or just use over-the -counter meds. This is important to me. All my docs work as a team in managing my health care.

  • redorangedog
    redorangedog September 14, 2017 at 11:19 am   

    Affiliation, with the most important hospitals. Are his accreditations up to date? Has the doc ever been sued? Are there positive reviews on Yelp or the docs website?

  • kittenpurr1
    kittenpurr1 July 8, 2016 at 7:41 pm   

    I was so upset not long ago, I heard my former Doctor was back, then I upon further investigating, oh my - I found out the most possible news, He had passed away. I cried, b/c he actually cared, and had a bedside manner. I didn't even know he was sick, he had Cancer.
    So, I am not too happy with the Doctor I have now. Been on the same pain medication for 2 years, it's not working any more, and at times, he's rude, I have had a lot of Diabetic complications, I couldn't even go home for Christmas, I was at the ER.
    So, I am in the process of trying to find a better Doctor. I search reviews, and talk to a few people, when I can.
    There's a lot of miscommunication going on in the offices he's in, plus the long list of different offices they have are being investigated for Medicare Fraud.

  • redorangedog
    redorangedog September 14, 2017 at 11:21 am   

    I miss you! Please come back. WE need you.

  • Dr Gary
    Dr GaryCA July 9, 2016 at 10:07 pm   

    Hi, thanks a lot for checking in and sharing your story. That's a sad one. What a loss! There are so many doctors who aren't all that great on the bedside manner, so when you find someone who really cares, you sure want to hang on to the. What a shame. And sorry to hear that you don't like your current doctor. Sounds like he is the opposite of the one you had before that. You have been dealing with a lot the past year. I am hoping you are able to connect with a doctor who is more warm and caring. I know that can be quite a task but it's worth the work. Investigated for Medicare fraud? Yikes! Great to hear from you again! Looking forward to hearing how you do with this. Please keep us posted!

  • redorangedog
    redorangedog July 20, 2016 at 4:03 pm   

    My doc said "you look so sexy in your skinny jeans," I said good by.

  • redorangedog
    redorangedog July 20, 2016 at 3:47 pm   

    Hi Kittenpurr,
    I have missed you and am glad you feel strong enough to write on A/C. Your wisdom is welcomed by all. Hope you are up and walking. My chemo is almost over and I am gaining weight, again. I know how frustrating it is to find a good doctor. I am in search of an internal med doc and the last one was a man in sandals with dirty feet. Now how do you let him touch your body?

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