Throughout your life, you might experience times where you need specialized care for health conditions. While your family physician might be capable of performing a number of treatments, sometimes there are conditions that go above their scope of specialty. However, you might not know when it’s time to do so, or how to go about it.
At Albemarle Square Family Health, we are dedicated to treating people from birth throughout the lifespan. To make an appointment, contact our office today!
Start With Insurance
Some insurance carriers require a referral from your family physician before you see a specialist. It’s very important that you understand your insurance company’s policies so that you don’t end up paying for services that aren’t pre-approved! Many times, this involves a history of visits with your family physician to establish health history related to your condition, so be sure to make an appointment with us first if you are considering seeing a specialist.
Follow the Specialist’s Policies
You might be suffering from a great amount of pain and can’t wait to get in to a specialist for care. However, some specialists require that your primary care provider orders labs, X-rays, or other testing before any appointment can be made. While this can be frustrating and feel like unnecessary steps, going to a specialist armed with as much information as possible will help you get the highest level of care at your appointment. If a physician has a waiting list for several months, you certainly don’t want to sit down with him for five minutes only to be told that further testing is warranted, or that your diagnosis isn’t something he treats. It would also be frustrating to come back several weeks later when an appointment is available.
Research Your Possibilities
Once you’ve gotten approval from insurance, your primary care physician, and have the necessary testing performed to confirm a diagnosis, you can research the specialists available to treat you. You might not have very many possibilities in your area, which will narrow your choices. But if you live in an area with abundant health care providers, you will have some choices. Research your possibilities by asking friends and family for word of mouth reviews, or check around online to see if his or her health care philosophy fits with yours. Double check that he or she takes your insurance.
Be Prepared to Wait
Specialists sometimes have longer waiting periods for a new patient than a primary care physician. While this can be disappointing, check with your referring doctor to see what can be done. If you’re in a significant amount of pain, your primary care provider might have suggestions or ways to help while you wait. If you are in a dire situation and can’t wait, your doctor might be able to call the specialist to ask about sooner dates. It can feel like a helpless time, but if you ask your doctor, there might be ways to find relief in the meantime.
At Albemarle Square Family Physicians, we are dedicated to serving your health care needs. Contact us for an appointment today.