Your medical needs should be addressed regularly, both when you are concerned about your health and would like to have a yearly check-up. Having an experienced primary care provider (PCP) who you can rely on is essential. But there are people who aren’t happy with their PCPs, so it is time to make some changes.
Being unhappy isn’t the only reason that may prompt one to change a PCP. Some people seek a new physician because the current one is moving to another state or because they have had to drop their insurance plan.
This article discusses why one may need to seek a new primary care physician and how to change them.
Who Is a Primary Care Physician?
There are so many different doctors in your hospital that you may not be sure which one of them you need to change when the time comes.
A primary care provider is the first doctor you go to when you need medical attention. They are your first point of contact and take care and monitor your overall health. They diagnose your health, run tests, and screen for diseases.
When Should You Change Your Primary Care Physician?
Seeking a new PCP isn’t only caused by a bad doctor’s performance or your dissatisfaction with them, but most often because you have no other choice. In fact, 95% of patients are quite happy with their choices, but the other 5% couldn’t form a good relationship with their physicians.
You may consider changing your primary care doctor for other reasons, such as:
You Are Changing Location
When moving to another location, far from your clinic or hospital, driving there when you have routine diagnostic tests, or feeling drowsy from an illness doesn’t sound like the best idea. Finding another doctor that matches your needs becomes a better alternative to what you had before.
Your Primary Care Provider Is Leaving
Your primary care provider might make a decision to, for example, move to another city or state, retire, or change a hospital where your insurance might not be valid. Regardless of the reason, you may feel stumped and have to be faced with the need to find a replacement.
Your Insurance Has Changed
You can visit your primary care doctor with or without the insurance, but the expenses will be significantly different. Even though you may need to change your doctor, it shouldn’t stop you from altering your insurance plan. In the end, you may be paying less but for a better service in a hospital closer to your location.
How to Change Your Primary Care Provider in 4 Steps
There are many reasons why you may consider changing your primary care provider. None of them should restrain you from choosing a new doctor in your location.
Here is how you can change your primary care provider in 4 steps to ensure a smooth transition:
Arrange the Last Meeting
If your primary care provider is leaving and there is time left, arrange a final appointment with them. Ask your PCP about your current health condition and whether there is anything you would need to mention to a new doctor.
In contrast, if you haven’t been fully satisfied and quite unhappy with your PCP, it is better to skip this step.
Search for a New Primary Care Provider
If you have a good relationship with your primary care doctor, ask them about other professionals they might vouch for.
Yet again, if you prefer to avoid contacting your PCP, ask your friends. They must have an opinion about doctors they have been to, and surely there will be someone they can recommend.
But how exactly should you look for a PCP in a new location?
You can build your list of candidates and select those who match your needs. To get that list, go to the nearest hospital and ask them for a directory of physicians. Asking for it is quite important for people who have chronic diseases and require a primary care physician that is experienced in treating them.
For example, at Chau Medical Group, our physicians are carefully screened before being taken on board. Their knowledge and years of experience aren’t the only criteria we have. What’s as important as expertise is their approach to treating people.
Retrieve Your Medical Records
Once you’ve concluded your choice, your next step is to get your medical records either in an electronic version or in hard copies.
Your medical records should include:
- Medical history
- Medical care
- Current and past diagnosis
- Medication information
- Family history
- Treatment history
- History of illness
- Surgical history
- Vital signs
- Main complains
- Lab results
- Imaging tests
Your medical history is usually quite a thick folder filled with documents on your health-related issues. There can also be consent forms and financial information.
Schedule Your First Visit With a New Primary Care Doctor
Now that you are in possession of your medical history, it is time to visit your new PCP. The first appointment should be dedicated to informing the doctor about your medical conditions, concerns, and past illnesses.
The primary care provider is likely to ask you questions, and those can be health-related or more focused on your expectations from the doctor.
Treat this meeting as an interview. As soon as you step out of the office, you will make an important decision about sticking with the candidate or continuing your search.
Here is some advice for all of you who have had their first meeting with a new PCP. To understand whether you have made a good decision by choosing that professional, reflect on your meeting. Think about whether the doctor was attentive to details and provided clear answers to your concerns.
Being comfortable with your new health provider lays a path for a new long-term patient-doctor relationship. Here at Chau Medical Group, you will find only knowledgeable, experienced, and devoted primary care doctors who always provide their patients with the necessary help.