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What Are Some Good Questions When Choosing A Doctor?

 By John T Leslie

As we age, doctors become increasingly important to us. Older persons will see many doctors with different specialties more and more often, so choosing a doctor is a major decision. You will probably want to write down a list of good questions when choosing a doctor. Medicare changes have prompted some unplanned changes with physicians. Changes of insurance coverage can also be a cause for changing physicians.

Here are some helpful pointers for making one of the most important choices you’ll ever have to make. Google “Interviewing a Doctor Checklist” for help in deciding whether the doctor you chose remains your choice after you talk with the physician.

Generally, a primary care physician is a family practitioner or general practice physician. They are trained to treat all aspects of a person’s health and well-being even though they have not specialized in a specific field. They treat the elderly, adults, children and newborns. If a specialized physician is indicated, a family practitioner will make a referral.

The first choice: Get a recommendation. The best way to begin the selection process is to get a recommendation from a nurse. Nurses get to observe performance in ways the rest of us never do. If you can’t ask a nurse, next best is to get a recommendation from a friend. Another doctor can make a suggestion, but you need to be sure the recommendation is on the basis of professional skills, not his golfing partner. You might want to ask if he has actually referred patients to the recommended physician and had feedback. You can also get recommendations from the web, newspaper ads or from flyers delivered to your door, but they are generic and don’t use them unless you have no other options.

Will the doctor accept your insurance plan? Once you have a physician’s name, call the doctor’s office to check whether your insurance company is accepted by the physician and/or if the doctor will accept Medicare payments and/or the supplemental policy if you have one.

What does the state say? States have a web site that will reveal complaints and licensing data. Check the State Medical Board web site for this type information and a listing of complaints.

Does the doctor have Board Certifications? Having certifications says the doctor has taken additional training and has been examined by his peers, a good indication of professionalism. Check the State Medical Board-web site for a listing of specialist certifications. See a listing of the 150+ specialties and sub-specialties at the ABMS Member Boards web site.

Where is the doctor’s office located? Is it convenient? Easy to find? Accessible? Served by public transportation? Is there parking? If treatment requires frequent office visits, then distance and convenience are important factors.

How long do you have to wait for an appointment? Appointment delay is an indication of the number of patients the doctor has and can indicate the doctor is overworked.

How can you get in touch with the doctor when the office is closed? Are there physicians to cover the “on-call” hours?

In what hospitals does the doctor have privileges? Are you comfortable with the possibility of being treated at one of “his” institutions should the need arise? The size, location and reputation of the hospital should play a large role in your decision to choose or not choose a specific doctor. If treatment may involve a specialty hospital, does the doctor have privileges there?

I have tried to provide you with most of the key questions you will want to ask when choosing a new physician, many times a new insurance provider will provide a list to work from as well.


John T. Leslie is an executive who changed careers after he retired. He realized that planning for the end of life challenges isn’t something many seniors are eager to do. He would get no more than a blank stare if he asked someone if they had a death planning checklist. John gave seminars for seniors on the subject and from his notes he wrote the book, “I’m Not Dead Yet” to help people deal with their end of life wishes.

You can get your own e book which outlines how to develop your “Going Away Book” by clicking on the web site above.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=John_T_Leslie


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