If you’re considering changing your healthcare provider, the first step is to talk to your current one. They may provide you with resources or referrals to help you find a new provider. They may also be able to help you transition smoothly into your new care. Make sure to ask them for:
- A summary of your medical history
- Records of any tests or procedures you’ve undergone
- A list of all your current medications and doses
- Contact information for your regular doctors
Once you have all of this information, you are ready to locate your next provider. If you have health insurance, the first place to look is your insurance company’s website. You can also seek out recommendations from friends or family members.
What Information You’ll Need From the New Provider
After you’ve found a few providers, it’s time for an in-person interview. You’ll want to make sure the provider has experience with your specific needs and can provide you with information on the services offered. While some of this information may be available on their website, it’s good to talk things over before committing. Here are some questions to ask:
- Which services do you offer? What are your credentials and training in these areas?
- Can I continue my regular treatment with other doctors (primary care or specialists)? Can I call between visits?
- Do you take my insurance? If not, what is the cost of treatment without insurance? How does that work?
- What is your payment policy? How much of the fee will I have to pay before my first appointment, and how often can I expect to pay after that?
- How long do you usually recommend treatment? Once we’ve started, what happens if I need more time than that?
- Once you start treatment, how often do you recommend follow-up appointments?
Asking all the right questions can help you decide whether a provider is a right fit for you. If their answers don’t feel satisfactory, it may be a sign that they aren’t the best choice for your new healthcare team. It could also help if your new healthcare provider has an urgent care clinic near you in case you need their services.
When Should You Make the Switch?
Switching providers can take time — from a few weeks to a month or more. It’s essential to find someone with whom you feel comfortable and who can provide you with the care you need. Here are some things to keep in mind as you decide when the time is right:
- Ensure your records have been sent over from your old provider(s) before going to a new office. It’ll save both of you a lot of time.
- Don’t leave a healthcare provider just because you’re dissatisfied. Make sure to give them a fair chance before moving on.
- Not everyone will have significant experiences when switching healthcare providers, but by being proactive and asking the right questions, you should be able to find someone that’s a good fit for you.
The Benefits of Switching Healthcare Providers
Not all healthcare providers are made equal; some will provide you with the care you need, while others may fall short of your expectations. Here are some reasons why it may be a good idea to switch providers:
Reason #1 You’ve had a negative experience with them in the past
It’s not your imagination; some healthcare providers are more approachable than others. If you’ve had a bad experience with your current provider, it may be time to switch to someone new. While negative experiences happen, if the problem doesn’t seem like a one-time thing and continues through all of your interactions with them, you should consider finding alternatives.
Reason #2 The cost of treatment is too high
Healthcare can be expensive, but there are plenty of affordable options out there. If you have been offered an unreasonable price for treatment or services from your current provider — or if they’ve turned you down because of your insurance coverage — it may be time to shop around. By getting quotes from other providers and comparing them with what you’re currently paying, you can better understand the rates in your area.
Reason #3 They cannot accept your insurance plan
If your provider cannot accept your insurance, it can be a severe problem. Not only will you have to pay for care out-of-pocket, but you may have to pay out-of-pocket for tests and procedures that your insurance should cover. Once you’ve found a healthcare provider that accepts your insurance, make sure to ask for a copy of their credentials and documentation to prove that they are in good standing before making an appointment.
Choosing a healthcare provider can be difficult, but with the right questions and guidance, you’ll be able to find someone who meets your needs. The steps outlined here should help guide you through the process. So, don’t settle for less than what you deserve — shop around until you find the provider that’s right for you!