Indianapolis residents are lucky to have plentiful options when it comes to choosing a health system, hospital, or doctor. Indiana University (IU) Health , St Vincent/Ascension Health, Franciscan Health, Eskenazi Health and Community Health are the Circle City’s big five, all with known specialties. Whether you’re looking for a general practitioner to periodically check your vitals or a specialist to help manage a chronic condition, there are many factors to consider when choosing a new doctor.
Have you been injured as a result of medical malpractice? Every Indiana medical malpractice lawyer at Cline Farrell Christie Lee & Bell has experience and can help you explore your options.
- Insurance Coverage
Most national insurance carriers, like Aetna, Anthem, United Healthcare, and Cigna are usually accepted by any of Indianapolis’ health systems, though no claim is ever guaranteed without a full understanding of each individual’s insurance policy. Luckily, insurance companies usually offer a search function for their customers so they can easily find a doctor in their geographic area that accepts their insurance. We recommend using this tool, or contacting your health insurance company, to start making your list of possible doctors.
- Certification and Practice History
Once you’ve found the names of some doctors in your area that look like they might work for you, it’s time for some quick Internet research into their past as a doctor. First you’ll want to find out if they’re board-certified. Doctors certified through the American Board of Medical Specialties have not only completed medical school and their residency, they’re expected to participate in continuing education to maintain the certification.
You’ll also want to review the doctor’s record with Indiana’s medical board and see if there have been disciplinary actions taken against them. Often doctors are allowed to keep on practicing medicine even when undergoing psychiatric treatment or substance abuse therapy. You can also search to see if any malpractice claims have been filed against the doctor through the Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund by selecting “Plaintiff Name” and typing in the doctor’s first and last name.
- Scheduling and Service
After you’ve made sure this new doctor doesn’t have any skeletons in the closet, it’s time to try to schedule an appointment. Expect a reasonable wait period; up to a month for a general practitioner and maybe even months for a specialist. But if you’re not comfortable with how long it takes to schedule, try someone else, because you might always need to schedule that far in advance. Outside the doctor’s availability, the attitudes of their staff can also tell you a lot. If the nurses and administrators aren’t happy to see patients or helpful and empathetic, it might be a red flag about the culture of the office.
- Trust and Comfort Level
Lastly and most important is the connection you feel to the doctor themselves. Do they listen to you with respect and address all your concerns? Are your questions welcomed or do they seem resented? When it comes to a general practitioner especially, these concerns are vital. Since you may only see a specialist once, you may not know they make you uncomfortable until it’s too late. Still, if you feel you aren’t getting the care you deserve from a specialist after waiting to see them, speak up! They may be so focused on the diagnosis and analytical part of their job that they forgot you aren’t an expert also.
Choosing a doctor is an important decision, but it doesn’t have to be a lengthy or stressful one. Most people who become doctors truly want to help their patients. Still, if you or a loved one feel you were mistreated by a doctor, the attorneys at CFCL want to help you get what you need to move forward in life with peace of mind.