Choosing a Doctor or Health Care Provider

Print on Demand

Finding the right doctor or health care provider for you is a big part of your medical care. Don’t wait until you get sick to find one. When you look for or change doctors, follow these tips:

•  Look for one who accepts your health plan. Check with the plan. Ask the person at work who handles employee benefits.

•  If you belong to a managed care plan, get a list of providers who work with the plan. Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) and Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) are two types of managed care plans. The doctor(s) you see now may be on your HMO or PPO list.

•  Ask relatives and friends for doctors they trust and have given them good medical care.

•  Find out if a doctor is taking new patients. Check with your health plan. Call the doctor’s office.

•  Look for a doctor you can relate to. How do you want medical decisions to be made? The doctor alone? You and the doctor together? Find one that meets your needs.

•  Ask about office hours and staffing. Ask how many patients are scheduled to be seen in an hour and how long they usually wait to see the doctor.

•  Ask how payment is handled. Must you pay at the time of your visit or can you be billed?

•  Find out what other providers serve as backups when the doctor is away. Ask what you should do at non-office hour times.

•  Find out which hospital(s) the doctor or provider sends patients to.

•  Look for a doctor who is competent and can care for all your general health needs. Ask if and who the doctor will refer you to for any special health needs.

American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS)

866.ASK.ABMS (275.2267)


Federation of State Medical Boards

888.ASK.FCVS (275.3287)


Health Grades


U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

This website is not meant to substitute for expert medical advice or treatment. Follow your doctor’s or health care provider’s advice if it differs from what is given in this guide.


The American Institute for Preventive Medicine (AIPM) is not responsible for the availability or content of external sites, nor does AIPM endorse them. Also, it is the responsibility of the user to examine the copyright and licensing restrictions of external pages and to secure all necessary permission.


The content on this website is proprietary. You may not modify, copy, reproduce, republish, upload, post, transmit, or distribute, in any manner, the material on the website without the written permission of AIPM.