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Choosing The Right Doctor

You doctor should be someone you trust completely — after all, you’re putting your life in his or her hands! You want a doctor who respects your time, is always looking out for your welfare, and really listens to your concerns. Here are a few tips for evaluating your doctor and his or her staff.

Credentials And Certifications

Checkmark-Iconwhere did you go to school? is it a reputable and accredited medical school?

Xmark-Icondid you complete 3 years of residency in your area of expertise?

Checkmark-Iconare you board-certified for the type of medicine you practice? is your re-certification up to date?

Xmark-Iconare your medical and drug licenses up-to-date?

Checkmark-Iconmay I have 5 references of current patients that I can contact?

Xmark-Iconuse the AMA’s “doctor finder” to check education and licensure

Checkmark-Iconcheck the American Board of Medical Specialties for board certification

Xmark-Iconhave you ever been involved in a malpractice suit?

Checkmark-Iconeach state’s board of medical licensure can provide you with information about malpractice suits

Items To Notice At Your First Appointment

Xmark-Icondoes the staff treat you well and make you feel comfortable?

Checkmark-Icondoes the office seem to function efficiently?

Xmark-Icondoes the doctor see you on time, or leave you waiting for your appointment?

Checkmark-Iconis the receptionist polite and helpful — both in person and on the phone?

Xmark-Iconis the office clean?

Checkmark-Icondoes the staff handle scheduling, referrals, and payment issues in a competent manner?

Payment And Insurance Questions

Xmark-Icondo you expect me to pay in full at the time of the visit?

Checkmark-Icondo you accept my current insurance?

Xmark-Iconwill you file a claim directly with my insurance company, or do I do it?

Checkmark-Icondo you accept Medicare and Medicaid?

Xmark-Icondo you offer a discount for cash payment?

To Ask Your Physician

Checkmark-Iconwhat is your health care philosophy?

Xmark-Iconhow do you emphasize prevention in your practice?

Checkmark-Iconwhat are your office hours? are you available evenings, weekends, or holidays for emergencies?

Xmark-Iconwho will cover for you if I need care while you are out of the office?

Checkmark-Iconhow often do you recommend check ups? what tests do you normally order?

Xmark-Iconcan a family member come in with me during an examination?

Checkmark-Iconmay I tape record my visits and our discussions?

Xmark-Iconwhat are your thoughts on alternative and complementary therapies?

Your Doctor-Patient Relationship

Checkmark-Icondoes the doctor ask questions about your lifestyle and habits?

Xmark-Icondoes the doctor listen to you when you share your thoughts and concerns?

Checkmark-Icondoes the doctor look you in the eyes and connect with you?

Xmark-Icondoes your doctor adequately answer your medical and other questions?

Checkmark-Icondoes your doctor offer additional educational and support resources?

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and

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