How To Choose a Doctor

Choosing your primary care physician is a key decision in your life, so be sure make an educated choice.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Call the office of your first choice. Ask if they’re accepting new patients. If they are, double-check that they accept your insurance and ask your prepared questions.
  • Step 2: Make an appointment, and then inform your health insurance provider, who often require that you assign one doctor as your primary care physician, of your choice.
  • FACT: Some physicians attend school and training for over ten years before starting to practice full time.
  • Step 3: Make a list of questions to ask the physician or office staff, like the size of the practice, their office hours, the availability of after-hour care, the average time with patients, etc.
  • Step 4: Create your "short list" of doctors who are in your insurance network, have been recommended, and seem to fulfill the criteria you identified as important.
  • Step 5: Ask some credible resources for some references about some local physicians. You can also consult a local regional magazine’s “Top Doc” list.
  • TIP: Check online for local sites or services where patients can rate their doctors.
  • Step 6: Check with your health insurance carrier to see which doctors are covered in their network. See if they're listed online, or ask them to mail you the list of providers.
  • Step 7: Identify what is important to you in a doctor. This could be their specialty, where they attended medical school, how big their practice is, their office location, or their bedside manner.

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