Looking for a new provider?
Your primary care provider is an important partner for improved health and well-being. Whether you’re looking for your first provider, have changed insurers or have relocated, these tips can help you find one.
Primary care providers are often the first call you make when you want to ask a health question. They can:
- Keep you on track with vaccinations and preventive screenings
- Respond to urgent health concerns such as illness and injury
- Help manage chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease
- Refer you to specialists for complex needs
There are different types of primary care providers, including:
- Family practice physicians, who treat patients of every age, and conditions of every type.
- Internal medicine physicians, who treat adults. They specialize in prevention and management of diseases.
- Nurse practitioners (NP), who are not physicians, but do have master’s- or doctoral-level training to provide primary care services.
- Physician’s assistants (PA), who are certified to offer primary care services to patients under the supervision of a physician.
Take these steps to locate a new provider
There are several ways to identify a provider who fits your needs and puts you at ease. Start by asking friends and colleagues for recommendations, or search hospital websites for primary care physicians. When you’ve created a list of potential providers, contact your insurance company to determine which of them accept your coverage.
Alternatively, you can start with your insurance company’s website to search for providers who are listed as “in network.” If you have Medicare coverage, visit the Medicare.gov physician compare website to help narrow your search.
Once you have a list of providers who meet your criteria, contact their office to ask these important questions:
- Are you accepting new patients?
- What are your office hours?
- Do you have office locations near my workplace or home?
- What languages can you speak and understand?
- What hospital(s) are you affiliated with?
Give them a test run
The relationship you have with your provider is critical. If you are confident in their ability and find they have a pleasant bedside manner, you’ll be more likely to see them when you need care. You may need more than one appointment to know if you’ve selected the right provider for you. If you haven’t, contact your insurer to make a change.