How to Find a Better Doctor

If your doctor doesn’t measure up, it’s time to hit the road and find one who does.

Your first step? Start by asking friends and family for their recommendations, particularly those with medical conditions similar to yours. Once you’ve narrowed your search to two or three offices, call them up and find out:

• If the doctor accepts Medicare assignment, meaning he can’t bill you for anything Medicare doesn’t cover.

• The doctor’s education, training, and certification.

• Office policies regarding phone calls, email consultations, credit card payments, and billing.

• The hospitals where the doctor has admitting privileges.

• Typical wait times for office visits, i.e., can you get a same-day appointment if you develop bronchitis?

• Typical wait times once you have an appointment, i.e., does the office generally run on time or do patients sit for an hour before being seen?

• The type of practice. If the doctor is part of a group practice, will you get to see him/her at each visit or is it the luck of the draw?

• If lab or other diagnostic tests are done in the office or if you have to go elsewhere.

• The doctor’s philosophy regarding complementary and alternative medicine.

• The average age of patients. You want a physician who treats older patients and is familiar with the medical conditions of older people.

See also: How to Checkup on Your Doctor

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