Choosing the right family physician requires more than a quick Google search of medical doctors nearby. Your family deserves to be treated with the utmost care by a competent, experienced, and board-certified professional. Additionally, you want the confidence of knowing that your family doctor will provide the best medical care.
Yes, a quick Google search will identify family physicians in your area, so it may be a good starting place. Identify several promising candidates, based on proximity and reviews from other patients. With this in hand, call each doctor’s office to request a consultation with the physician. Using the following questions as a jumping off point, you will be able to assess which doctor fits your family’s needs.
Does the practice accept my insurance?
Not all doctors accept all insurance plans. It is important to choose a doctor that accepts your insurance, so that you aren’t surprised with unexpected bills. Additionally, not all insurance plans cover all services that doctors provide. A family doctor has to provide a variety of services and treatments. If your insurance plan only covers basic doctor visits, you may end up paying for treatments later down the road. Make sure to discuss with your insurance company what exactly they will cover with your chosen physician.
Is the practice accepting new patients? If so, how many?
A lot of family physicians do not accept patients right away because they have a specific number of patients they can provide care for. A family doctor develops long term relationships with patients and sees them through many stages of life. Therefore, choose a doctor who has the ability to accommodate your needs long-term. They may have a waiting list that you would have to go on for some time. Make sure to discuss how many people in your family would like to be the doctor’s patients.
How many doctors are on staff, and may I choose one over the other?
You may want to have one doctor who you see every time you visit. Your physician should know every detail about your health, so having to be switched between multiple physicians may not be ideal. Go with a doctor’s office that is able to dedicate one physician for your care every time you visit.
I am interested in finding a doctor who can treat every member of my family. Do you provide services for all of them?
If you have young children or elderly parents, your medical needs will be different than theirs. As a result, it’s important to find a doctor who caters to all of your needs. A family doctor caters to patients of all ages. If you want a single doctor to be the primary care physician for your entire family, this is the type of doctor to go with.
If the doctor orders blood work, will it be drawn in the office or at a lab facility?
Many doctors work with laboratories that are far away from their office. This can require to travel elsewhere for bloodwork and also cause blood work results to come back after several days or weeks. When you are having symptoms, this can be a problem because you will have to endure your symptoms until the results come back and your doctor interprets them. Getting a diagnosis should be quick and easy. Therefore, go with a doctor who offers a quick turnaround with lab work.
When I visit the office, what is the general wait time before seeing the doctor? What do I do in an emergency?
Some doctors require you to wait for hours on end to be seen – even after making an appointment! This can cause you to waste a lot of time just to be seen. Also, unpredictable things happen. If you have an unexpected emergency and your doctor isn’t available to see you for days, this can be a big inconvenience. You may have to choose between waiting or going to the emergency room. Therefore, find out how long typical wait times are and what services the office provides in emergency situations.
Does the doctor make hospital visits and if so, to what hospitals?
Hopefully, no one in your family will need to go to the hospital, but if it becomes necessary, having your family physician there would be an advantage. They are acquainted with your health history, which is invaluable. The proximity of the hospital the doctor serves may also be a consideration.
Family Doctor in Atoka, Oklahoma
Carrus Care Clinic of Atoka, a subsidiary of Carrus Health, has family doctors on staff to care for patients of all ages.
We also receive walk-in patients, but if you’d prefer to schedule an appointment to see a primary care physician, call (580) 364-8205. You can also request an appointment online.