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Finding the Right Doctor
Old 08-11-2016, 04:37 PM   #1
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Finding the Right Doctor

When our beloved young lady doctor retired early (children and a well placed husband), it triggered a degree of anxiety, as we were lucky to have found her, (right out of med school).
As we are not native to our small town, we had no long term knowledge of the local practitioners.
Yesterday was a day of happy triumph, when we made our first visit to our new doctor. No adequate way to describe the superlatives... Extremely smart, and with an office demeanor that made us comfortable and confident.
It's like finding a diamond on a large beach.

Maybe not so much for younger folks, but for those of us who are aging, the most important thing about a physician is his ability to relate, and to spend the time to draw out the concerns of his patient. In our case he is a geriatric specialist, who is on the leading edge of geriatric medicine... much of which never reaches the news, or even the pages of WebMD, or the NIH.

It was a time to put in to perspective all of the complaints, aches and pains and other worries. A time to separate the things that can be changed, and to learn to accept and mitigate those thing that are normal or common to our age.

Not so much a subject for discussion as to "how to find", but a comment on how meaningful a doctor can be to our mental, as well as physical well-being.


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Old 08-11-2016, 07:29 PM   #2
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My wife is a medical professional managing laboratories in large hospitals and a large physician practice. She can easily spot the really good physicians.

Unfortunately, so many Internists are pushing retirement age. The governmental regulations are absolutely strangling their ability to properly treat their patients with Medicare, Medicaid and private insurances dictating how they will practice medicine by controlling the purse strings. Many doctors in their late 50's and 60's are just not going to be around much longer, and many have already sold their practices to hospital chains.

If I was going to change doctors, I'd be looking for one that's been out of residency about 5 years. You know, a doctor not too young and not too old. Because I don't want to have to change doctors in another 10 years--when I might need them more than I need them now.

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Old 08-11-2016, 07:48 PM   #3
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As health care costs are the wild card in retirement, part of my retirement plan dictates I do everything possible to optimize health. This includes taking charge of it and viewing my healthcare providers as (very high priced) consultants. I usually go in with questions as a result of something I've read, tests I may want done, immunizations, or some other consult. I actually have a spread sheet where I track all physician visits, results, immunizations, surgeries, etc.

My physician's office told me last visit that he would no longer be accepting HMO patients if they have any change at all to their health insurance, no matter how long they've been with him. As a result of my COBRA insurance ending in November and transitioning to CAL-COBRA, I will lose him as a physician. I've been with him for about 16 years and intend to try to talk my way into staying with them during my appointment next month. Failing this, it will be no problem for me to start with another health care provider as I have taken over responsibility for my own health. My current physician may "know" me and my heath (but does he really? he only sees me once a year for my annual, self-initiated, in-depth check-up), but I know (and track) my health better.
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Old 08-12-2016, 06:19 AM   #4
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That is one thing about healthcare in our neck of the woods I have zero complaints about. We have so many doctors available even for hmo plans getting a good one is not an issue. You trip over them in the grocery stores.

I have a great cardiologist and dermatologist. The GP was a different story. I chose one but fired him because his staff were incompetent, he was fine but I got fed up of correcting their billing mistakes. I had another that moved 15 minutes away from our home, we switched again and now have another 5 minutes away with great staff, and he is OK for the once a year I go to him.

A doctor for those of us (Me & DW At Least) used to single payer healthcare from UK and Canada are not so fussy about doctors, at least I am not. We treat doctors like any other service professional, and example would be car mechanics but for the body, If you get a bad one fire them and get another. This is no reflection on doctors in general just the selection and "Who gets our business". We have only had to switch a couple of times. Again we are spoilt here as there is so much choice.

This is the ONE big worry we have about relocating to Canada (Vancouver Island) till we are 65. Finding any doc there seems to be a challenge. But we would be OK with walk in clinics for GP services I suppose.

There is a fantastic hospital 10 minutes away with a great ER staff.

For the most parts doctors in our county are outstanding, their admin staff can be trying.
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Old 08-12-2016, 07:50 AM   #5
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In addition to all the 'expected' qualities such as ability and manner, end of life care approach might be important. After listening to an NPR interview a few years ago, I would also make sure your end of life approach matches with the doctor. The NPR interview was with a doctor caring for his mother. His mother's doctor believed a doctors duty was to do everything possible to lengthen an individuals life. His mother preferred to end medical treatment. Consequently, after a great deal of angst, they decided to change doctors. They could have avoided a lot of the difficult discussions at a terrible time if they knew the doctor's philosophy upfront.

Perhaps things are a little easier today as end of life discussions are more 'out-front'. But knowing a doctors feeling on this earlier vs later, might be beneficial.
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Old 08-14-2016, 01:33 PM   #6
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I just switched to an HMO and I think my doctor and his staff are ecstatic. They get a monthly amount from my HMO and since I never use my doctor except for once per year physical, (knock on wood) they just keep the monthly gravy. The doc made sure I had my scripts for the year, then on my way out he said "Have a wonderful year!" Ka ching! I don't begrudge him.
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Old 08-14-2016, 02:06 PM   #7
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When we moved here 18 years ago we were lucky to find a doctor close by that we like very much. She gets very booked up and sometimes it can be months to get an appt with her. If we do not want to wait, we can go with someone else in the practice. Fortunately, whenever we do that, we have still been happy with the doc we have gotten.

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