Thursday, August 25, 2016

 Your choice of health care provider is strongly influenced by the health plan you choose. If you have the choice, review the list of doctors and hospitals offered through your health plan to see if the ones you want are included in their plan.

Health Issues: How to Choose a Healthcare Provider

When choosing a doctor or other health care provider, here are some basic questions to consider:

I. Who is a basic primary care/family health provider:
  • Pediatrician. Specializes in the health of infants and children, usually can perform some simple surgeries and can prescribe medications.
  • Family Practice. Specializes in family health, including infants, children and adults, can perform some simple surgeries and prescribe medications.
  • Internal Medicine (Internist) Specializes in health for adults; sometimes has a specialty within internal medicine and can perform some surgeries, but not major surgery, such as heart, and can prescribe medications.
  • ARNP (Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner) Specializes in health of infants, children and adults, cannot perform surgeries, but can prescribe medications.
  • Obstetrician/gynecologist (Ob/Gyn) Many women prefer using ob/gyn's as their primary care doctor. Some insurance plans will accept these doctors as primary care providers, others do not. They can perform some surgeries, such as Caesarian Sections and prescribe medications.
Basic Questions

Where did the provider receiver her/his medical nursing degree?
  • Are they licensed to practice in the state?
  • How are they licensed? As a family practice, surgeon, etc.?
  • What do you want for your main health care provider: -A specialist?-An internist?
  • A family practice doctor?
  • Have they ever been sued for malpractice or disciplined by the Medical Disciplinary Board? If so, why and what was the result?
  • If you prefer a particular hospital, does your provider have "admitting privileges" at that hospital, i.e., does that hospital allow your provider to treat you there.
  • how often does he/she take continuing medical education courses and in what areas? This applies to all providers, whether the are "primary care" or specialists, such as dermatologists.
Your Relationship with Your Provider
  • What is your provider's patient care philosophy? Does s/he want you actively involved in asking questions? What do s/he expect of you as a patient? What do you expect of her/him as a provider?Does the provider listen to you and pay attention to your concerns? Do you feel that s/he is paying attention to you as a person and respects your points of view?
  •  If you are seeing a provider for a special health issue, is this an area that the provider treats frequently, e.g., skin problem or heart surgery?
  • If you use a primary care provider in a managed care system, what is your provider's views on referrals to specialists or to prescription medication?
  • Is your doctor restricted by your health plan to use only specific medications or can they use the ones they believe are the most effective and appropriate for you? (Some insurance companies restrict the medications they will pay for).
  • What does your provider feel about "living wills" or how can you make sure your provider will respect your wishes about end of life decisions, including unanticipated accidents?Choosing a Doctor or Health Care Service How to Choose a Health Care Provider

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