5 Steps to Choosing a New DoctorPosted by Medicare Made Clear
Choosing a doctor is an important decision. Your doctor can affect your health and quality of life. Unfortunately, knowing what to look for in a doctor is no easy task.
According to NIH National Institutes of Aging, there are a few things you need to consider when looking for a new doctor.1
Decide what you want in a doctor.
- Does it matter to you if your doctor is male or female?
- Do you want your doctor to be associated with a specific hospital in your community?
- Does your doctor accept your health insurance or Medicare?
- Is the clinic location convenient for you?
- Does the clinic have convenient hours for you?
Get referrals from several sources.
- Ask your family and friends which doctor they recommend.
- Go to Medicare.gov for a list of doctors who participate in Medicare.
- MedlinePlus, a website from the National Library of Medicine at NIH, may also be helpful.
- Consult reference sources, such as The American Medical Association’s Directory of Physicians in the United States and the Official American Board of Medical Specialties Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists, which are available at many libraries.
- Call your local or state medical society to check if complaints have been filed against possible doctors.
Try to schedule an appointment to talk to the doctor you are considering. You will probably be charged for the visit.
- Is the doctor taking new patients?
- Does the doctor have many older patients?
- Ask how the doctor feels about involving your family in care decisions.
- Did the doctor give you a chance to ask questions?
- Did the doctor listen to and understand everything you said?
- Did the doctor explain things in a way you were able to understand?
- Were you comfortable talking to the doctor?
Decide who you want to be your new doctor.
Once you have found your new doctor, schedule your next medical appointment. Be sure to bring your medical records or arrange to have all your records transferred to the new clinic before your appointment.
Click here to read 4 Simple Steps to a Successful Doctor Visit.
For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.
Getting Started: Choosing a Doctor You Can Talk To: NIH National Institute on Aging
Choose the Right Hospital for You: Medicare Made Clear
1 Getting Started: Choosing a Doctor You Can Talk To, NIH National Institute on Aging, January 22, 2015