Finding a Primary Care Physician (PCP) can be overwhelming. Having someone who makes you feel comfortable is the first step to good communication about your health. Being proactive in your health care is important for the best outcomes.
It is important to have a PCP, because he or she is responsible for screening all major health-related conditions. In most cases, that person knows your medical history and can recommend specialty physicians and additional care.
What is a Primary Care Physician (PCP)?
A Primary Care Physician will be the main point of contact for a patient’s basic medical needs, because that person can help recommend different treatment options.
There are different types of doctors that qualify as Primary Care Physicians. You could have a physician with the designation Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) or a Nurse Practitioner (NP) listed as your PCP.
Typically, these physicians are listed with the below specialties:
- Family medicine
- Internal medicine
Search for a new PCP
Ask friends, family or locals
Asking for a recommendation from people you know is helpful. People often feel most comfortable visiting a physician who is recommended by someone they know, such as a family member.
If you are moving to a new area, ask your current PCP if he or she can recommend a practice in the area. Once you have your PCP, he or she can refer you to specialty doctors.
Many patients find doctors by word of mouth, but now it is becoming more popular to find a new doctor online. Here are ways to research online for a new doctor.
- Use a search engine- using a search engine (like Google or Bing) is the first step to finding a new doctor. The most common search is finding doctors “near me.” The second highest search is looking up a provider’s profile listing.
- Look at online reviews- Looking at online reviews is a great way to learn more. You can use sites like Zocdoc and Healthgrades. These sites often show what types of insurance the facility accepts, how long the doctor has been practicing, and other information. Use any of that information to make your own judgements about the office.
Check your primary carrier network
It is important to see if the doctor you want to see is in-network. Each insurance carrier website has a tool to Find a Provider.
This is where you can check if your doctor is designated as In Network. If you are having trouble, contact the carrier directly to be sure.
We recommend all members check if their physician or facility is still listed as In Network before each appointment. Insurance networks can change at any time.
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Request medical records
Once you have decided on a new doctor, it is time to request your medical records. Your current office will send your records to your new office. It is best to request your medical records before you schedule your first appointment. It is important to send your personal records so the office and doctor can be up to date with your medical care.