Selecting Your Healthcare Providers

SELECTING YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS

Selecting your healthcare providers is a very important because they along with you manage your healthcare.  The following will guide you through the process.

  1. Primary Care Physician

Selecting your primary care physician (PCP) is the starting point.  The PCP is your health teams quarterback.  A PCP is generally a Family Practice Physician (FPP) or an Internist.   Family Practice Physician are generalist where as an Internist have more specific training.  Both are capable for managing your healthcare needs.  The following are several steps in assisting you:

Selecting a PCP

  1. Research FPP or Internist in your general service area first. Do not restrict yourself to a defined area just for convenience.  Your health insurance plan can help with identifying doctors.  Another source are hospital websites that are called “Find a Doctor”.
  2. Ask friends and relatives who they would recommend.
  3. Narrow down your choices to two to three.
  4. Access the choices web sites to determine their education, residency locations, and specialty training.
  5. Call the choices offices to insure they accept your health insurance and if they are thinking about dropping the plan.
  6. Determining the quality of the physician can be challenging. First, start with your states Medical Board or Attorney General web sites.  These sites will lead you to physician complaints.  Another source is Health Grades (healthgrades.com), Consumer Reports and Medicare.  These sites can provide you with valuable information in making your decisions.
  7. Some healthcare consumers have become very aggressive in selecting their PCP. The following are additional recommendations’
    1. Schedule a meeting doctor to discuss your healthcare requirements. If appropriate, pay for the visit yourself.
    2. Determine if his/her personality is agreeable to you.
    3. Ask if the office has a Physician Assistance (PA’s) to help manage the practice. PA’s support the doctor and help expedite care.
    4. Experience how the office staff works, wait times, communication, billing practices, etc….
  8. Make your selection.
  9. Remember, if you believe you made a mistake, you can always change your PCP or Internist.
  1. Selecting a Specialty Physicians

Specialty Physicians, such as Cardiologists, Obstetrics, etc…, are generally referred to you by your PCP.  Usually the PCP has experience or has a relationship with the specialist and trust them.  Several

  1. As with your PCP, go through the same selection process.
  2. If your illness is serve, research the best doctors in that specific specialty in your service area.
  3. Make sure the Specialist is in your insurance plan network.
  4. Make your selection.
  5. Remember, if you believe you made a mistake, you can always change your Specialist.

   III.     Selecting a Hospital

All hospital are not created equal.  Quality outcomes and safety can vary greatly from hospital to hospital. The following is list of that the consumer access on the internet to review hospitals.

  • Leapfrog
  • Hospital Safety Grades
  • Healthgrades
  • Consumer Reports
  • Medicare Hospital Compare

Selecting healthcare providers can be a very daunting task.  Since the management of healthcare has been push onto the healthcare consumer, taking the time to research and select the best healthcare provider will be important and insure the quality of care received is high.

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