Finding New Doctor
September 3, 2021 11:04 AM   Subscribe

The practice where my doctors work is closing! The two I have seen there are moving to either Telemedicine only, or only taking Medicare patients. Do you have advice/strategies on finding a new doctor that takes my insurance after seeing the same ones for about fifteen years?

I could ask friends, but the two who come to mind don't really live anywhere near me, though I might still ask them. But this must happen to people all the time. What did you do?
posted by wittgenstein to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
Start by going on your insurance company's website to see what doctors near you take the insurance. Then google them for reviews.
posted by jonathanhughes at 11:26 AM on September 3, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Be prepared for this to be harder than you think. My doctor of 30 years retired in January and it took me months to find a new one. Oh, I got plenty of great recommendations from friends and neighborhood chat sites. But almost no practices are taking on new patients. It seems they’re overwhelmed with their current patients who avoided coming in for a year or so during the pandemic and are now flocking back. It took my old doctor’s practice 9 months to name a replacement and I just went with her without doing any research because I didn’t want to wait. Even then, I have to wait two months to get in to see her. And I’m in a healthcare-rich area.
posted by lpsguy at 11:28 AM on September 3, 2021

Can you ask coworkers (who probably have the same insurance as you) for recommendations? If you see any other healthcare providers, you can try asking them for recs as well.
posted by MadamM at 11:55 AM on September 3, 2021

Your doctors may have a relationship with another doctor(s) that are expecting to take their patients. Find out ASAP, then make an appointment ASAP if they'll want you to do a new patient appointment.

In general, find a promising one, then schedule an appointment -- it will probably be months out. You can cancel if you find someone you like better in the next few weeks.
posted by amtho at 12:32 PM on September 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

First, ask your current provider for recommendations, they may have some.

Then, use your insurance company's Find A Provider feature on their website. This is usually kind of a pain, it might take a few tries to figure out how to filter the results to be useful to you, and be wary of using the browser back button because that usually loses the filters you carefully set up (look for a Go Back or similar link on the page itself, instead). But you should be able to pick a few who are near you to check into.

Then, look at reviews on Healthgrades or even Yelp. Keep in mind that people tend to post reviews only when they had a negative experience and take the reviews with a grain of salt--don't use the same criteria you would for finding a place to go for dinner--but you may still find out some useful information.

At that point you should have 2-3 final options. Call each of them directly to confirm they still take your insurance, because your insurance company's Find A Provider can sometimes be out of date.

Final choice is up to whatever factors are important to you, which could include location, whether there's an online patient portal, if you liked the vibe of the admin staff, whatever.
posted by rhiannonstone at 3:22 PM on September 3, 2021

Best answer: I meant to convey: schedule an appointment ASAP. You will probably have to wait months, so get in the queue as soon as you can. If you change your mind or find a different doctor, I think that ethically you're in the clear if you cancel as late as 4-6 weeks before the appointment.
posted by amtho at 4:17 PM on September 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

All of the above, but also ask your doctors themselves for referrals. Don't ask the office/admin, specifically reach out to your physicians and ask them if they have specific colleagues they would recommend.
posted by namemeansgazelle at 6:39 PM on September 3, 2021

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