Choosing which doctor will provide primary care for your family isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly. However, it’s often a decision that people are forced to make quite quickly, as it’s typically part of the insurance sign-up process.
At Medics USA, we realize that here in Washington D.C. you have many options for a primary care physician. We’re honored that so many people in this community have chosen the primary care providers at our offices to look after their health needs, and we hope that you will too.
However, no matter which doctor you choose to provide care for your family, it’s important that you make sure they’re the right person to meet your needs. The questions below should all be part of your decision making process.
Why Might People Change Primary Care Providers?
Before we dive into our list of questions to ask yourself when considering a new primary care provider, let’s talk about the reasons you might find yourself in need of such a medical professional.
Many people think that primary care physicians are chosen for life, and it’s true that decades ago, it wasn’t uncommon for “family doctors” to take care of multiple generations of a family. These days, that’s less common. Moving, changes to insurance coverage, need of specialty services, and many other factors can influence how long you stay with a particular physician. There’s also the possibility that you just don’t like the style of care or level of customer service you receive from a particular doctor, and so you go seek better care elsewhere. If and when that occurs, keep the following questions in mind:
Questions To Ask When Considering A New Primary Care Physician
Are They In-Network?
If you’re working with an insurance company, they will likely have negotiated special, discounted rates with primary care providers that agreed to be considered “in network.” Your insurance coverage can still be used for doctors that are “out of network,” however you may have to pay extra fees or even all of the costs of the visit up front when you choose them over an “in network” provider.
Do They Have Discount Options For Patients Who Pay Cash?
If you’re not working with an insurance company, and find yourself in need of a primary care doctor, it’s worth asking if a particular office offers and discounts for paying out of pocket and up front. When doctors work with insurance companies, there’s a delay between the time a service is rendered and the time when they are reimbursed for the service. When people pay cash, doctors get their money faster, and this means they are sometimes willing to offer discounts.
Experience With Your Health Needs?
Once you’ve decided whether you’ll be working with an in-network or out-of-network doctor, it’s time to narrow down the list even further by choosing a specialty. Primary care physicians typically fall into one of three categories:
- Family Practice – These doctors can provide care for patients of all ages, i.e. “an entire family.” While they’re not typically an expert in any one area of the body or type of illness, they can diagnose and treat a wide variety of conditions.
- Internal Medicine – These physicians typically restrict their practice to adults, and specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases and chronic conditions.
- General Practice – Like family practice doctors, these physicians are open to patients of all ages and genders. However, the category can also include osteopaths, which are alternative medicine providers who focus on the musculoskeletal system.
Are They Recommended By A Friend?
Doctors, while being essential for our health, are business owners. They market their practices in order to attract clients, and in doing so, they often make it seem like they are the perfect person to provide your primary care. However, it’s always best to get a second opinion on that from a person who has actually used them as their doctor. Word of mouth recommendations from friends go a long way where doctors are concerned.
Are They Conveniently Located?
What good is a great doctor if they’re located so far away from you that it’s inconvenient to visit them on a regular basis? This is why we make it a point to place our Medics USA offices in communities that make it easy for patients to stop in anytime they’re not feeling well.
Do You Like Their Personality?
If you were going to hire a babysitter or someone to clean your pool, you’d likely spend some time talking with them first. You want to makes ure they’re a good fit for the job. Far too often, people are afraid to do the same with their doctors. Don’t hesitate to schedule an initial consultation with a doctor to get to know them a little bit before you decide they’re right for your family.
Medics USA Offers Primary Care That Fits Into Your Busy Life
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