Choosing the Best Primary Care Provider for You and Your Family
Whether you’re new to our community, have changed health plans recently, or simply are looking for a new primary care provider, choosing a doctor for routine checkups and primary medical care is one of the most important decisions you will make as a healthcare consumer. Throughout southeastern New Jersey, AtlantiCare Physician Group (APG) meets our community’s needs for high-quality primary healthcare through our expert team of specialists in family medicine and internal medicine, as well as our certified advanced-practice nurse practitioners.
Questions to Ask
How long have you been in practice?
Are you board-certified? In what field of medicine?
Do you have any subspecialties?
What hospital(s) are you affiliated with?
What insurance plans do you accept?
What are your office hours?
How soon can I get an appointment?
What is your policy on appointment cancellations?
Once you have decided on the type of primary care provider that best fits your needs, you may wish to consider other factors when choosing a new doctor. For example, the provider’s professional credentials (what degrees and certifications she or he has earned), the office hours and proximity to your home or workplace, and types of insurance accepted. Some people also take into account languages spoken in the office and their preference for a female or male practitioner. All APG primary care practices have access to Language Line, a three-way calling system that allows the healthcare provider, the patient, and a certified medical interpreter to communicate to handle any language barriers.
Jason Chew, DO, a board-certified specialist with APG Primary Care Plus in Ocean City, says the“three Cs — competence, compassion, and communication skills” — are some additional factors to consider when choosing a primary care provider for you and your family.
“Your primary care provider serves as a ‘home base’ for all your basic healthcare needs — from health screenings and annual physical examinations to the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses and injuries not severe enough to warrant a trip to the emergency department. For this reason, it’s important to select a provider with whom you feel comfortable and can communicate easily,” says Dr. Chew.
After you see your new doctor for the first time, take a moment to evaluate the care you received. According to Dr. Chew, some questions to ask yourself are:
- Were you treated with respect by the doctor and office staff?
- Did you feel comfortable during your appointment?
- Did your doctor listen carefully and answer your questions?
- Were health conditions, medical tests, or test results clearly explained to you?
- If you were prescribed medicine for your condition, did you understand how to take it, when to take it, and the benefits and risks of treatment?
Primary Care Plus. Specializing in preventive care, AtlantiCare’s Primary Care Plus doctors provide convenience, choice and fast access to the care you need at several locations throughout Southeastern New Jersey.