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Need a Doctor? 8 Questions to Ask Before Making an Appointment

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if you need a doctor don't make an appointment till you have asked questions Jochen Sands/Digital Vision/Thinkstock

Choosing a new physician can be tough whether you’ve moved or if it’s time for a change.

A good way to start is to ask for recommendations from people you know, but that doesn’t always work out. Selecting the right doctor is an individual choice only you can make.

Unfortunately, your choices may be narrowed down by your insurance plan, so make sure you ask for a list of doctors from your insurance before you begin the search.

When calling for an appointment, asking essential questions that concern you will help rule out many issues later on.

Here are eight important questions to ask when seeking out a new doctor:

1. Payment Method

Even if the practice accepts your insurance, it’s important to know up front whether you are expected to pay at the time of the visit, after your deductible is met, or if you will be billed after the insurance payment has been collected.

If you don’t have insurance, ask if the office accepts payment plans. It’s better to know before your appointment.

2. Location

Make sure it’s an easy commute and/or accessible by public transportation. If you are disabled in any way, ask if the practice has handicapped parking, entrances, and elevator access.

3. Affiliations

Find out which hospital(s) the doctor is affiliated with and decide whether or not you feel comfortable being treated there. It’s also good to know if they do lab work and X-rays in-house.

Having to commute to a different facility or one who doesn’t accept your insurance could be a problem. If you live in a smaller city, you may not have a choice, but it’s good to know.

4. Gender

If you feel more comfortable with a female physician, ask for a female doctor before you make the appointment. Most of the larger practices have male and female doctors these days, but you need to ask.

The head physician may be male and have a female nurse practitioner (NP) that also takes patients. NP’s that are fresh out of school may be up on the latest medical knowledge and technology.

Rest assured, if your condition were serious, the NP would always consult the MD.

5. Language

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.