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Hard time finding primary care physicians?

By February 13, 2008 - 7:57am
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Today, a report was released saying that fewer American doctors are focusing on primary care, but the decline is being covered by physicians from other countries. Have you found a primary care physician that you really like? If so, tell us about your doctor, why you like him or her and what part of the country you're in.

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Doctor referral services are becoming more plentiful, if that's the right word, these days, particularly in our area with so many new clinics and hospitals opening. When we moved here nearly 30 years ago, a referral service was practically non-existent and we went by personal referrals. Now you can even get ratings and reviews that can be informative and useful.

The hospitals and clinics also send out "welcome" pieces, announcing new practitioners and their specialties. The other day, we received a piece from one of the newest hospitals here that presented the new Chief of Staff and a couple of new specialists, with background information and a brief article by each. It was interesting.

I've noticed, too, that some company health plans have relaxed rules concerning primary care physicians, allowing the plan participants to elect physicians of their own choosing, rather than be restricted to a list (that never seems to be up-to-date). This allows patients to remain with the same providers they've had for some time, rather than list someone they are forced to name but won't see. That was a little game we had to play for a while.

March 13, 2008 - 4:41pm

I saw this topic a few weeks ago, and didn't think it applied to me...until I went to my OB/GYN today! I have several doctors: allergist, OB/GYN, dentist and ophthalmologist, so I thought I was covered.

On the new patient form for my OB/GYN, it asked for the name of my Primary Physician...and I realize I don't have one! I drove home, wondering how I'm going to find someone, and saw Tina's message with great websites. This is a great starting point for me, to find some "favorites" as far as their speciality, interest, location, certifications, etc, then I can start asking around...and if the same name comes up, then I can go meet with them and see if I like their "bedside" manner. This process takes awhile, but it's worth it!

EmpowHer is such a great site for health resources...thanks!

March 13, 2008 - 1:41pm

Here's a pretty good list of Web sites courtesy of Oprah and Dr. Oz if you're looking for a trusted physician.

* American Medical Association (AMA)
* American Board of Medical Specialties
* American College of Physicians
* American College of Surgeons
* Family Doctor (American Association of Family Physicians)
* Healthfinder
* Medline Plus

March 13, 2008 - 9:16am

It has been my experience that the best referrals are word of mouth. Who are your friends and family using. Not only is it important to find out their credentials, but it is also important to know how they communicate, if they are easy to talk to, if they are compassionate, etc.

Everyone needs to find someone they are comfortable with, and you should never be afraid to ask questions to a doctor. Find out how they answer questions, i.e. do they dismiss them, or do they take the time to explain.

I was a nurse for 15 years and it amazed me how many people looked up to physicians as God-like prophets. It also amazed me how many doctors also thought that of themselves.

I am not saying that all physicians are like that but as with anything else, you will find good and bad. Keep in mind they can't all graduate at the top of their class, and for that matter do you even want them to?

Physicians are not only supposed to treat a condition or symptom, they are supposed to treat a person, the whole person.

This may be a little far reached, and off subject, but I am going to leave you with this thought and it does tie in..

I have 4 children, and I am considered to be an over protective parent, but I have a standard rule of thumb when it comes to my kids as well as anything else in my life and this can apply for chosing doctors.

If I don't know you well enough or trust you enough to lend you my car, you sure as heck are not going to be entrusted with my kids or my life. Because a car can be replaced, we can't.

February 15, 2008 - 7:46am
(reply to LizG)


That is hilarious, and I love your philosophy for choosing a doctor--- many of us are so protective of our cars, that it does bring up a good point about how trusting we are with our own LIFE with doctors and health care providers-- we are more protective of lending our cars to our own friends and family compared to "giving over" our body to a stranger in a white coat! (well, that was a little over-dramatic, but I do like your philosophy!)

Alison B

February 23, 2008 - 3:30pm
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