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Finding a Local Doctor

Finding a Local Doctor

The best rule in finding a health care provider in a new location is the sooner, the better. Before arriving at your new assignment, check the Arkansas State Medical Board’s online ­directory search at www.armedicalboard.org/public/directory. You can browse for a provider by type or by location.

Personal referrals from friends or other ­medical personnel can add to your options.

Building trust with a health care provider takes time, so don’t wait until a family member is ill to find a doctor, nurse practitioner or other health care provider.

Keep in mind the following tips and questions as you look for a health care provider.

Ask health insurance plans and medical offices for information on their doctors’ training and experience.

Use AMA Resources for Patients, the American Medical Association’s free physicians’ information service at www.ama-assn.org.

Has the doctor completed several years of training in a specialty and passed an exam? Check out the American Board of Medical Specialties at www.abms.org, call 866-275-2267 or write to the ABMS, 353 N. Clark St., Suite 1400, Chicago, IL 60654.

Has anyone registered a complaint or taken disciplinary action against the doctor? To find out, check out the Arkansas State ­Medical Board at https://www.armedicalboard.org or call 501-296-1802.

Call the doctor’s office and ask for an appointment. Most doctors will take time to meet potential patients, but you should expect a nominal fee for the use of his or her time.

When you meet a doctor and the staff for the first time, consider the following.

When scheduling the appointment, was the receptionist friendly, prompt and professional? Did he or she take time to answer your questions? Were you left on hold too long? Did the receptionist seem knowledgeable about the workings of the office?

When you arrived, were you greeted promptly? Was the reception area clean and comfortable? Was the staff friendly and willing to answer your questions?

Did you have to wait long in the exam room before the doctor arrived? Was the exam room orderly and clean, with a chair for a family member to sit in?

When the doctor arrived and introduced himself or herself, was it with a smile? Did the doctor seem rushed or tired? Did you get a good first impression? Did you feel ­comfortable revealing personal information?

During the consultation, did nurses or assistants pop in and out? Did the doctor leave the room during your conversation? Did the doctor seem caring, compassionate and sympathetic to your concerns? Did the doctor rush through the meeting? Did the doctor seem relaxed? Did you feel as though you were the only patient the doctor had to see that day?

 

Treat finding a doctor as seriously as looking for a new job or a new home. Depending on the length of time you will be in the area, this ­relationship is a long-term commitment, and you want to be comfortable with the person who will see you while you are most vulnerable.

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