There are several things to consider when searching for a new primary care physician. Whether you’re switching doctors, moving or starting a new job with different health insurance, you need to be sure you choose the right doctor for your needs.
While the process of searching for a new medical office can seem overwhelming at first, you can quickly narrow your options by considering the following questions.
1) Do they take your health insurance?
Your health insurance will largely determine which primary care physicians you choose in your area. These doctors’ offices are often referred to as “in network,” which means the insurance company offers the greatest medical coverage when you visit those providers.
Receiving services from “out of network” providers or any doctors that are not covered by your insurance could significantly increase your out-of-pocket expenses.
If you have Medicare or Medicaid, you’ll want to be sure your preferred doctor’s office accepts these before you make an appointment.
2) Can your whole family receive care?
Do you need a primary care physician only for yourself or for your whole family?
Family doctors will have pediatricians who specialize in healthcare for children. But not all primary care physicians have pediatricians on staff, this is an important question to ask as you’re comparing providers.
3) How close are they to your home or work?
This question is more important than you might realize. New patients often choose the nearest provider to their homes, but this isn’t always convenient for every situation. For example, if you travel 30 minutes to work every day, and your doctors’ appointments are scheduled during the day, then it may make more sense to choose a provider that’s closer to your work – to minimize the travel time and impact on your workday.
Conversely, some families may prefer their doctor to be close to home, especially for situations in which children are home sick and need to visit their doctor (in which case you may not want to drive 30 minutes to the provider’s office).
4) Is the doctor the right fit for you?
The National Institute of Health recommends that patients consider several important questions when determining if a doctor is a good match for your needs:
- Do you have preferences for the doctor’s sex, age or religion?
- Will you prefer to have someone in the office who speaks your language?
- Is the physician board-certified? If so, in what field? What is their area of expertise?
5) What about when you need urgent care?
Can you visit the same doctor’s office when you have more pressing medical issues? Are walk-in services or urgent care available without making an appointment?
What about when you need to go to the hospital? Is the office affiliated with a local hospital, and if so, do you have any preference for which one?
Have more questions about choosing a primary care physician?
At Maryland Primary Care, we know that choosing a new doctor is a big decision. We are happy to answer any questions you have as you evaluate your options.
Call us at 301-277-3555 for more information or to make an appointment.