It's time to find a pediatrician but you can't just entrust your child's healthcare to anyone. Don't just pick a name out of the phone book and assume that since their title is doctor that they are competent. Here are some tips for choosing a good pediatrician for your child. Allow plenty of time for your search. If you are pregnant then start looking several months before your due date for a pediatrician. If you are moving to a new city, try and find a pediatrician before you move. Check with your insurance carrier for a list of pediatricians that are covered under your plan. Ask around, talk to other parents, coworkers, relatives, neighbors or even your own doctor for a recommendation of a good pediatrician. If you've recently moved to a new area, you may not have personal or social connections established to ask for referrals. In this case, you may want to contact area hospitals or medical schools for recommendations or ask the pediatric residents or nurses where they take their children. You can also request a list of board-certified pediatricians from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and board certified family physicians from the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). Once you've gotten some recommendations, you can begin to check them out more thoroughly. In each state, a medical board investigates complaints against doctors and may take disciplinary action, ranging from citing a doctor for non-payment of certain administrative fees to suspending or revoking his or her license for criminal behavior. In most states, the information is public and is posted by state medical boards on their websites.
Determining Which Pediatrician Gets the Job
After you've determined which pediatricians you are interested in set up interviews. A prenatal appointment is an excellent opportunity for both parents to ask questions and get acquainted with the office staff. This will help you determine if you are comfortable with the pediatrician's personality, office staff, and general environment. Make a list of questions you might have for the doctor and staff. Some questions may include: What are your office hours? Is this a solo or group practice? Are there other doctors available to take care of my child if you are not available? What hospital are you affiliated with? Will you visit my baby in the hospital after he or she is born? Does your office have someone to answer the phone after hours in case I have a question or need advice? If there is an emergency with my child, will you be able to handle it or should I go to the emergency room? Are lab tests done in the office or do they have to be sent out? What are your payment policies?
There are many excellent pediatricians available to care for your child. Hopefully by doing some research and asking the right questions you will find the right pediatrician for you and your child.
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