Get Answers to Your Questions
When searching for a doctor, dentist or other health care professional:
- Find out whether they are licensed in your state. A state or local occupational and professional licensing board will be able to give you this information.
- Research whether they are board-certified in the appropriate specialty. You can find this information on the websites of the American Medical Association and the American Board of Medical Specialties.
- Ask how often the health care professional has done the procedure you need or has treated your condition. You may be able to find some of this information on the Internet. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report the success rates and number of procedures performed by fertility clinics. Some states collect and post data on the success of heart-bypass surgery.
- Check whether there have been any complaints or disciplinary actions taken. Websites that can help are: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and Healthfinder.gov.
- Find out what doctors participate in your health insurance plan. If you are having surgery, check to see if all providers (radiologists, anesthesiologists) are also covered by your plan, to avoid surprise bills.
Consider these questions regarding your health care provider and his or her practice:
- Does the doctor participate in your insurance plan?
- Is the office in an area that you can get to easily or does it have hours during times when you can make an appointment?
- Does the doctor have privileges at the hospital you prefer?
- Do you get along well with the doctor? Do you feel that you communicate well with each other and that he or she listens to your concerns and explains diagnoses and benefits of new treatments and prescriptions clearly?
- What is the doctor’s cancelation policy?
- Will you have to pay for the visit if you cancel your appointment?