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5 things to consider when choosing a primary care provider

5 things to consider when choosing a primary care provider

Many of us associate going to the doctor with being sick or injured, but even healthy adults should see a primary care provider regularly to manage their health. A primary care provider acts as your one-stop-shop for healthcare. They can help you answer questions about your health, manage any existing conditions, stay up to date on preventative care, and spot problems or potential risks before they become serious issues.

Routine visits with your primary care provider can also help you increase your comfort levels at the doctor’s office. When you work with a primary care provider you know and trust, it’s can be easier to ask questions and discuss difficult topics. Over time, your doctor will get to know you well, and will establish a clear understanding of your comprehensive health history.

More: 5 Reasons to make Primary Care a priority this year

With all of that said, it’s important to make the right decision when choosing a primary care provider. After all, you ideally want to pick someone that you can be your partner for the long haul! If you’re in the market for a new primary care provider, here are five key things to consider:

1. Do they accept your insurance?

When selecting a primary care provider, it’s a good idea to choose an “in-network” provider that accepts your health insurance. This will make getting primary care more affordable, and help you avoid any surprising “out-of-network” expenses. Many health plans will even cover the cost of a primary care visit, which may include basic blood tests, vaccinations, and preventative care. Check your specific health benefits for more details about what is covered in your plan. In most cases, you will only be responsible for a small copayment.

Many health plans have a “Find a Provider” feature on their website, which allows you to search for in-network providers in your area. You can also call the number on the back of your health insurance card for assistance.

2. Does their expertise fit your needs?

The term “primary care provider” includes several different types of providers. When choosing a provider, you may want to consider which type may be the best fit for you.

  • Family Practice: These generalist physicians treat patients of all ages for a wide range of conditions. In addition to everyday care, they can also provide certain types of specialty care, including sports medicine or women’s health.
  • Internal Medicine: In addition to treating and providing routine care for adults, Internal Medicine physicians are focused on the prevention, diagnosis, and ongoing management of chronic conditions and disease.
  • General Practice: Like Family Practice, General Practice physicians care for patients of all ages. Some General Practice physicians may also be osteopaths, a type of doctor that offers alternative medicine and treatment for the body parts that helps us move around, including bones, muscles and joints. These doctors have DO behind their name as opposed to MD.
  • Pediatricians: These doctors focus specifically on providing primary care for children.

3. Is the location convenient?

It’s important to consider logistics when selecting a primary care provider. Be sure to check where their office location is on a map. Is it convenient to your work or home? How will you plan to get there? If you choose a provider that is close by, easily accessible, and stress-free for you to travel to, you are more likely to keep up with your care routine.

4. Does their schedule fit yours?

Scheduling is another important logistical consideration. Think about which day of the week and what time of day will be most convenient for you to visit the doctor’s office. Are there days and times that absolutely won’t work? For example: If you can only see the doctor on Saturdays, but the provider only accepts patients during the week, it’s going to be challenging to make it work.

Feel free to give the primary care provider’s office a call to ask if they schedule appointments at times that will fit into your schedule and life.

5. Is it a good personal fit?

While logistics are important, your personal comfort and relationship with the provider is another non-negotiable piece of the puzzle. Your primary care provider needs to be someone you can trust with intimate details about your health and life. In addition, you make sure you feel comfortable at the office location, as well as with the staff working there. A good primary care provider (and their staff) should make you feel welcomed, respected, listened to, and empowered to ask questions.

Do you need support finding a primary care provider? We’re always here to help. Visit our provider directory or call 504.987.7777 to find a provider that works for you.

Dr. Stephanie E. Losq-Sarkar

About Dr. Stephanie E. Losq-Sarkar

I specialize in Primary Care. I became a healthcare provider because I love biology and I love people. My patients can count on me to provide extraordinary care because I’m approachable to talk about what’s going on, concerns, and worries.

My little something extra

I enjoy making a good quiche.

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