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Tips: What Do You Need to Know About a Doctor?

Basics
  • Is the doctor taking new patients?
  • Is the doctor covered by my insurance plan?
  • Does the doctor accept Medicare?

Qualifications and Characteristics
  • Is the doctor board certified? In what field?
  • Is the age, sex, race, or religion of the doctor important?
  • Will language be an obstacle to communication? Is there someone in the office who speaks my language?
  • Do I prefer a group practice or an individual doctor?
  • Does it matter which hospital the doctor admits patients to?

Logistics
  • Is the location of the doctor’s office important? How far am I willing to travel to see the doctor?
  • Is there parking? What does it cost? Is the office on a bus or subway line?
  • Does the building have an elevator? What about ramps for a wheelchair or walker?

Office Policies
  • What days/hours does the doctor see patients?
  • Are there times set aside for the doctor to take phone calls? Does the doctor accept emailed questions? Is there a charge for this service?
  • Does the doctor ever make house calls?
  • How far in advance do I have to make appointments?
  • What’s the process for urgent care? How do I reach the doctor in an emergency?
  • Who takes care of patients after hours or when the doctor is away?


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