Healthcare coverage has become a hot button issue recently with escalating costs and a lack of qualified physicians available to select from. Finding a family health care doctor for you and your loved ones is becoming an ever increasing problem with limited availability of experienced professionals and more and more restrictions being placed on consumers by insurance companies. While finding a doctor may not be as easy as it used to be there are still some steps that can be taken to narrow the search and find a physician whom you can work with to stay healthy.
Many insurance providers have plans which are categorized as either health maintenance organizations (HMO) or preferred provider organizations (PPO). Depending on the type of insurance you have there may be limited choice of doctors in your area. When looking for a physician in your general location, always call around first and ask if they are accepting patients under your insurance plan. Not all physicians will qualify or be willing to accept an insurance company's terms. This will become more relevant if you're looking for specialized care for yourself or children if you need a pediatrician or similar care.
Many individuals develop a connection with their healthcare provider or general practitioner and will go out of their way to maintain this relationship. If you're willing to travel or wait for an appointment then it may make sense to the the same physician over and over again. Individuals or families in rural locations may not have a large selection of physicians to choose from and this relationship may be a byproduct of limited availability. In larger metropolitan areas however were physicians and specialists are in great abundance then there is additional freedom in choosing a physician. By being flexible with whom you see it can mean greater access and more flexible scheduling leading to shorter wait times and more diversified experience and expertise.
The days of having a single highly experienced general practitioner to handle all needs for family health care has become less necessary in recent times. Routine screenings or physical exams for common maladies such as fever and chills can often be handled by a nurse practitioner or physician's assistant. There's no reason for a dermatologist with 30 years experience to be conducting routine skin exams. By being open to the idea of basic treatment being handled by a wide variety of different qualified and certified medical personnel you increase your chances of getting more immediate health care appointments. In most medical practices, if something is abnormal or worrisome then front line medical personnel inevitably will run it by a senior physician to reevaluate test results or symptoms. If this is a concern when looking for family health care doctor you can always voice this with the staff to make sure you and your family are covered and hopefully they can accommodate your request.
Similar to finding a lawyer or auto mechanic, you can always use friends and family for recommendations in addition to word-of-mouth from coworkers and acquaintances. This will at least get the ball rolling and allow you to schedule appointments to interview physicians. Obviously don't conduct a real interview, but use your appointment to get to know the physician and determine whether or not this is someone you want as your family health care doctor. Some doctors aren't exactly known for their warm bedside manner but depending on your personality that may be a perfect fit. The doctor-patient relationship is considered a team effort and requires trust and cooperation form both parties.