In the midst of packing up your belongings, finding a new home, switching utility companies and settling into your new life, you may forget about selecting a new doctor. Many Americans rely on their primary care physicians to stay healthy. You may also need a number of specialists, like a dentist, optometrist, dermatologist, chiropractor and more.
So when you pick up your life and move a significant distance from your current doctors, where do you start searching for a new one? Choosing a doctor can be overwhelming, especially after a big move. We’ve asked experienced movers who have assisted in quite a few long-distance moves to help compile a list of tips to help you find a doctor.
Here are four places to get helpful information for your search:
- Local Chamber of Commerce
- Local BBB Website
- Online: WebMD, Vitals.com, HealthGrades.com
Reliable referrals can come from any number of different people:
- Friend. Try the people you trust the most. If you have any friends who live in your new area, ask them who they have as their practitioner.
- Neighbor. You could ask your new neighbors. Since they’re probably already quite established in the area, they would have good recommendations.
- Practitioner. Third, you could ask your previous doctor who they would recommend. However, at most your doctor will probably only be aware of the general reputation of prospective doctors, depending on how far you move.
- Workplace. If you have health insurance through your employer, they can likely provide a list of medical practitioners that are near your new home and will also accept your insurance.
- The American Medical Association. Use their DoctorFinder tool to search every single licensed doctor in the United States — about 814,000 doctors.
- Hospitals. Many doctors practice out of hospitals, which is a win-win for you: You’ll get an expert recommendation, and should you need to go to the hospital, your doctor will be there.
The local BBB website and Chamber of Commerce can provide you with more general information about a doctor. Check social media and neighborhood forums as well. You may be able to find reviews, comments and complaints from their patients as well.
It’s also recommended that you go about choosing a primary care physician first, and they can give advice on which specialists you need to see.
Going to the doctor and getting a feel for the practice is the best way to decide whether or not that doctor is right for you. Don’t be afraid to try out a few different physicians until you find one that works best for you.
Don’t let the fear of starting over with a new doctor hold you back! Your health is important, especially as you adjust to your new life.