Be Your Own Healthcare Advocate

It’s no secret today that our healthcare system has changed immensely, not to mention the care you receive… depending on where you reside. Not every state is equal when it comes to healthcare plans, in fact, Nevada is one out of three that has a Federally-supported State based Marketplace; the other two being Oregon and New Mexico. No matter where you are though, the medical field is a growing place and no one is going to be ringing your phone telling you it’s time for an annual check-up; those days are long gone. It’s time to take your own well-being seriously and get the proper care by the right doctors; we now need to be our own ‘Advocate’ today.

Beginning with an annual visit to your primary doctor, everyone should be sure to do this; providing a family history to your doc helps them with possible risks for disease or ailments, if not now… at least in the future as you age. It is important you ask questions concerning your personal health, and what exams might be needed when you hit those certain ages in life; not all doctors offer these willingly anymore, as the medical field has changed and with certain Insurances they don’t pay as generously as they once did. I find it amazing at how an 80 year old isn’t told by their so-called long term primary doc that they should probably have a colonoscopy as part of a routine exam, knowing it’s been 15 years since they had one. This is an example of today’s health field, and yes it’s a true story. That particular doctor blew it off and told the patient that the Insurance would not cover it and the cost would range up to $8,000 out of pocket; none of what he said was true. In my eyes… the doctor didn’t want to deal with it. This is a red flag, and now it’s time to search for another doctor.

Searching for a good doctor who fits your Individual needs is crucial to taking good care of yourself; same goes for any specialist you may need. If you begin asking around for recommendations from friends or family, keep in mind we are all different and someone else may like a doctor that you won’t. In order to find one on your own, I am going to list a couple of sites that I use religiously before making an appointment. The first one is www.Healthgrades.com , you can choose a doctor by degree and title, meaning… are you looking for a MD or a Specialty doctor, and also location. The other one is www.Vitals.com and is similar to Healthgrades. These sites can give you all the information you want to know, beginning with where they achieved their Licenses to Awards, residency, procedures performed and specialties. They also provide a drop down list of Insurances they accept, including offices and hospitals that they are affiliated with. It also provides Patient Feedback, so you may judge for yourself if this doctor would be a good fit for you. I’ve actually been asked by nurses how I found the particular doctor I was making the visit to; usually in the ‘specialty’ department.

For those of you that have never tried these sites, I am encouraging you to do so. If you currently have a doctor you like, go ahead and put the doctors’ name in the bar on top of the web page I gave you and look them up. This will give you an idea on how it works. Sometimes it will give you a photo of the doctor, as well as the years they’ve been in practice. For what its worth, always get the best care possible and don’t forget to ask your doctors questions. There are no stupid questions when it comes to your well-being. I also recommend that if you are not satisfied with a doctor, then search for a new one. Satisfaction is important to everyone. I once told a doctor that I thought he was a bit arrogant and wasn’t listening to me at all; he was surprised at my forwardness with him, so guess what happened next? He apologized and took more time with me, which eventually solved the current problem. He has been a great doctor for me, ever since I expressed my feelings we have an understanding, and I have no complaints. Now this may not always be the case, so use your own judgement when approaching a doctor. Unfortunately some of the Top Doctors are a bit arrogant; in fact some are even great looking too, but it doesn’t give them a right to think they are above all; if you know what I mean. For the most part, I am happy with many of my doctors. However I rely on those sites for pertinent information. Whatever your choice may be… always remember, be your own Advocate, it’s your health and your Life. Be well.

Make your week count.

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