Tips for Choosing a New PCP

Tips for Choosing a New PCP

A primary care physician (PCP), or primary care practitioner, is a healthcare professional who practices general medicine. PCPs are our first stop for medical care and can make a huge difference in the quality of care we receive.

They provide essential services such as annual checkups and coordinating medical treatment with various specialists as well as the referrals or prescriptions necessary to get approved for medical imaging such as CT/MRI scans. 

To find the right PCP, you should first identify what is important to you in a doctor-patient relationship. Whether you’re joining a new insurance network or looking to see a doctor at a different location, here are some questions to consider when deciding which primary care physician is right for you. 

Who is in-network?

If you have health insurance, it helps to choose an in-network PCP because your costs may be higher otherwise. In some cases, using an out-of-network doctor may mean paying higher medical costs – or even paying the full cost for care. 

If you don’t have health insurance or prefer not to use it, be sure to ask your prospective doctor about the cost per visit. Having this information upfront could save you a lot of money in surprise bills later on. 

How accessible are they?

Distance and convenience are important factors to consider when choosing a PCP, especially when you’re making the decision for your household or extended family.

Consider how far the doctor’s practice is from your home, school, or office and how easy it is to get there through your preferred means of transportation. There may be a lot of PCPs in one neighborhood but very few in others. Due to COVID-19, many primary care practices have been forced to shut down which makes finding a convenient location even more challenging for those with already limited access. 

Research shows lower-income neighborhoods tend to have more “safety net” facilities like community health clinics, public clinics, and hospital emergency rooms than primary care physician offices.

In areas without well-developed public transportation systems, access to primary care physicians could be severely restricted.

What kinds of PCPs are out there?

Choosing a PCP is especially important if you are deciding for you or someone you know with chronic conditions that require regular doctor visits. There are different types of primary care practitioners since the term can refer to any of the following types of medical professionals:

  • Family Medicine Practitioner
  • Internist
  • Pediatrician
  • Geriatrician
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Physician Assistant 

Where will tests take place?

Similar to a physician’s office location, it is a good idea to ask whether basic procedures such as lab tests, x-rays, and scans are performed in-office or off-site at an imaging facility. 

Medmo connects individual patients to imaging centers based on their individual location preferences, not their PCP’s office. We also offer lower rates on tests for patients who wish to skip insurance and pay the centers directly. Whether you want to prioritize your home, school, or work as your location’s range, Medmo has got you covered. 

How available is the doctor?

One of the most important things to consider when looking for a new PCP is whether or not you’re able to see them. This means knowing their office hours and how that aligns with your schedule. Some doctors are booked weeks and/or months in advance which makes scheduling a last-minute appointment nearly impossible. 

Telemedicine and direct primary care (DPC) physicians are up-and-coming alternative options that directly combat these problems. DPC physicians charge a monthly fee that is typically $100 or more which gives patients unlimited and direct access to their doctor. 

To get more insight on this topic, you may want to consult your insurance or digital review and marketplace services like Zodoc to find doctors who might be a good fit.
To book an MRI, visit us at Medmo.com. Medmo helps people schedule radiology imaging tests – such as MRI, CT scans, PET, and more – at nearby accredited centers and identify the payment solution that works best for them.

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