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How to Choose a Provider
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Do you have a provider with whom you feel completely comfortable? If so, you are well on your way to a satisfying, and beneficial, healthcare relationship. If not, you should start looking for a provider who you can rely on for an honest, comfortable and informative relationship that you can trust with your health. Looking for a new provider takes some effort. It isn’t as easy as opening up the phone book and finding the office nearest you. First of all, you’ll need to find a provider who is covered by your insurance, unless you don’t mind paying for the expenses yourself. That means talking to your insurance company or your employer about a list of qualified providers in your area who are under your managed healthcare plan. Often, you can find such a list online at your insurance company’s website. Insurance companies try to make information accessible and straightforward for their clients, and usually provide excellent websites. If your insurance company doesn’t have a website, check your card for a toll-free number that you can call for information. If you don’t have insurance, you should be able skip this step and go straight to looking for a facility that suits your needs, such as your health department or a regional healthcare clinic.

After you find a list of eligible providers in your area, start asking yourself what is important to you in a physician. Consider the following questions.

  • Do you want a provider nearby your home or work?
  • Do you prefer to visit the provider at irregular hours, like weekends or late afternoons and early mornings?
  • Would you like a provider with an affiliation or “privileges” (the right to perform procedures at) with a specific area hospital?
  • What type of education does the provider have? Where did they do their residency? Is the provider board-certified?
  • Will you see a physician assistant, a nurse practitioner, or a medical doctor?
  • Do you enjoy a friendly, open staff?
  • How much time do you want to spend in the waiting room?
  • How long does it usually take to get an appointment?
  • What is the provider’s policy with emergencies during non-office hours?
  • What is the provider’s medication philosophy?

Rank these questions in order of importance, and call provider’s offices to find out where each one falls in reference to these questions. When you make an initial call to a provider’s office, the staff should answer any questions you may have. You may even make a preliminary visit to meet with the provider, but you will most likely be charged for this visit.

Click below to read about related topics.

Introduction
How to Choose a Provider
Talking to Your Provider
Getting a Second Opinion
Types of Providers
Definitions