- Check with your insurance company for a list of providers who are in-network.
2. Call people on the list and ask questions:
- Does anyone in the practice have experience with ______?
- What are his/her credentials? Where did s/he go to school?
- How long has s/he been practicing medicine?
- How many patients does s/he treat with ______ each year?
- What ______ – specific training has s/he completed?
- What is the usual wait time for an appointment after established as a patient?
- What is the parking situation?
- What are the hours for appointments?
- Do you take xyz insurance?
- How do you handle after hours emergencies and phone calls during the day?
- What is the usual wait time to see the doctor after checking in?
3. Once you find a practitioner that meets your criteria, be prepared for the first visit. Complete all new patient paperwork before the appointment, if possible.
4. On the day of the appointment, plan to arrive early – especially if you have to complete new patient paperwork. Bring your insurance card and drivers license to every appointment.
5. Make a list of questions ahead of time – try to keep it brief and prioritize. If you have a lot of questions or medical concerns, let the staff know when they schedule your appointment – they may schedule a longer appointment for you.
6. Be concise when giving information or asking questions – doctors have limited time and generally do not need to hear the explicit details unless they ask (or the details are relevant).
7. Take notes or ask your provider to give you written instructions or information from the appointments. This is especially necessary if there are cognitive or memory problems, or if you simply get anxious and forget what was said in the appointment.
8. If you are concerned about your ability to remember or comprehend what the provider says, take someone with you to your appointments. S/he can take notes and help clarify things after the appointment.
9. If you do not think the provider is a good fit for you, ask for your records and take them to another provider.
10. Give feedback to the provider – good or bad. If you are uncomfortable telling him/her directly, leave the information with a nurse or front desk staff or in a suggestion box. If you have a bad (or good) experience with front desk staff or scheduling, tell the medical provider.