by Beth Milligan, MD, Family Practice Baptist Health Family Clinic-Pleasant Valley
The next time you make an appointment to see your healthcare provider there are a few things you can do to make your visit more valuable to you.
Do your homework before the visit. Know what your insurance plan covers. For example if you have a wellness plan then let your physician know. Using the correct medical codes from the very beginning may save you money. Some plans allow for preventative testing and others don’t. The physician will rarely know what your plan covers. Being prepared will save time and money.
Be specific when making your appointment. Let the scheduler know what you need. For example, if you have a sinus infection or if you need a physical. The scheduler will provide you with an appointment based on your complaint. Short visits allow for 1 or 2 complaints and are approximately 10 minutes in length. Physical exams are usually based on the age of the patient and what the insurance allows. Average appointment times are 20 to 30 minutes.
There is usually less of a wait time for first morning appointments or the first appointment after lunch.
Bring your medications with you. If you are new to the physician then take all the medication you have been using with you to be reviewed. Even better, have copies of the records from your previous physician available for review. Physicians may be reluctant to prescribe medications on new visits when previous records are not available for review.
Jot it down. Make notes to yourself that will help guide the appointment to meet your needs. Try to limit your questions and make them specific to the problem being evaluated.
Take notes and ask when the doctor would like to see you again. Keep a file at home with your records. It makes things much easier when seeing a new physician.
Being an active participant in your healthcare can mean a much healthier you.