One of the longest and most important relationships of your life will likely be the one you share with your primary care physician. This physician, who serves as your ongoing medical resource, is specially trained to provide comprehensive care for those with undiagnosed issues, symptoms or health concerns.
Even in the strongest, most stable relationships, however, things can change. Whether you change insurance plans, move to a new area, or just want a fresh perspective, one day you might find yourself in the market for a new primary care physician. Where do you even start with such an important decision?
|Dr. Ulrich & Dr. Sevastos are two of our family medicine specialists committed to helping you live well.|
Here are a few key considerations:
1. Your Insurance Network
A great physician who is out-of-network or doesn’t accept your insurance plan may not be ideal for you. Research the providers within your health care plan using an online doctor database so you won’t have unanticipated costs every time you see your physician.
2. Word of Mouth
Many patients arrive at the office of a new provider thanks to recommendations by friends, neighbors or family members. Online resources can help, but, unfortunately, those reviews often lack context and reliability. Unlike online referrals, word of mouth is often an accurate, useful tool for finding a new physician.
The office should be close to where you spend a lot of time. Beyond accessibility, is it easy to get to and does it have ample parking? Always evaluate providers based on your particular needs. If you don’t usually need after-hours care or don’t mind waiting to see a preferred physician, a certain provider may work better for you than for others.
4. Onsite Visit
The best gauge of care is to go experience it. Make an appointment to give the office and provider a test drive. At your visit, evaluate how you’re treated, the friendliness of front desk and office staff and any wait times you experience.
In addition to providing routine health care, your primary care practitioner can refer you to specialists should the need arise. “Primary care physicians are a great source for specialists,” says family medicine practitioner Roger Ulrich, M.D., of Beaufort Memorial Bluffton Primary Care. “They often have developed relationships with other physicians in the area and can recommend someone they know and trust.”
If you’re still not sure where to start, call Beaufort Memorial’s physician referral line at 843-522-5585. You can be connected to a Beaufort Memorial physician or specialist who fits your needs.