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Establishing Care with a New Medical Practice

Whenever you change doctors or medical practices, there are several steps you need to take in order to make the transition go as smoothly as possible. In order to avoid the hassle of miscommunications, billing issues, and other issues, be sure to follow through with these important tasks.

Interview the Doctor

Actually, this one should take place before you start transitioning your care to a new practice. Does the doctor have the expertise and experience they need in order to give you the best possible care? Do they have a relationship with a nearby hospital? Do they have an on-call doctor or other medical personnel available to help you after hours, or when they aren’t in the office?

It’s important that your doctor offers direct primary care, and can coordinate with specialists and hospitals whenever you need them to.

Transfer Your Health Records

Although your new practice will ask you to fill out a number of intake forms and take your medical history, it’s still of the utmost important that you transfer all of your health records to their system. Your new doctor will need those records to determine how previous doctors have treated you in the past. They may even find patterns or issues that were missed by your old doctor by perusing your history.

You will need to sign release forms in order for your previous doctor, as well as any specialists you’ve seen, in order to have your records transferred to your new practice. Luckily with the increased implementation of electronic health records, this transfer process has become much more streamlined, timely, and cost-effective, according to HealthIT.gov.

Inform Your Health Insurance Carrier

Many insurances require you to designate a specific doctor as your primary care physician, and require that physician to provide all of your preventative care, as well as referrals to specialists or hospitals. If you don’t update your insurance carrier that your primary care doctor has changed, you could be responsible for significant medical fees.

If you are part of a membership-based health care plan, this process may be different – and potentially much easier. So long as your new doctor is still a member of your health care affiliate, you should not experience any issues with transferring care.

Update Your Emergency Information

Make sure that your employer, school, family, and emergency contacts know of the change in your health care provider. Request new insurance cards for yourself and your dependents that list your updated primary care doctor.

You should have your doctor’s name and contact information – as well as other important emergency contacts – kept in your wallet and displayed prominently in your home (by the telephone or attached to the fridge). This makes it much easier for emergency personnel to contact everyone they need to should you be unable to provide that information yourself during an emergency.

There’s more to establishing care with a new medical practice than simply arriving for your first appointment. The practice will have you fill out a number of forms. However, you also need to take the initiative to inform the right people and take the required steps to transition your care effectively.

This entry was posted in Health Provider Management

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