Choosing the Best Doctors for Your Diabetes Managementby David Mendosa Patient Advocate
When you have diabetes, you need to find doctors in several different specialties. You will likely see a primary care physician (PCP) or an endocrinologist more often than others, so selecting these doctors is especially important. But you also need to carefully pick a dietitian, an ophthalmologist, a podiatrist, a dentist, and a dermatologist — unless you can rely on your PCP or endocrinologist for those services.
Integrity is hard to judge, but not impossible. You may be able to find out if your state’s medical board has disciplined the doctor, or if a malpractice judgment was served. Some states, including New York and California, provide records of doctors subjected to disciplinary or other legal actions. A Google search may also help, or you can try the search tool from the Federation of State Medical Boards.
Depending on the type of health insurance you have — an indemnity or a managed care plan (HMO, PPO, or POS) — your choice of doctors will vary. Especially if you are in an HMO, your choices will be limited. But any managed care plan can provide you with a list of options in each specialty. Indemnity plans reimburse your medical expenses regardless of who provides the service.
If at all possible, the office of your primary care physician should be relatively nearby. But don’t set narrow limits. When I fired a doctor who didn’t listen to me, the office of the one I chose was an hour from my home — and this doctor was the one who helped me more than any other. I know people who have travelled about 3,000 miles each way to see a top specialist.
If you are lucky enough to have a wide choice of doctors who meet these primary considerations, check more factors: Do they have office hours that are convenient for you? Do your friends and neighbors rate them highly? Do they have a long waiting list for appointments? Do they provide an emergency after-hours contact?
Use the "Ben Franklin sales close"
Your final decision needs to weigh these factors. Carefully limit the factors that you consider to be a deal breaker. The Ben Franklin sales close involves compiling a balance sheet of all the pros on one side of a single page, and all the cons on the other. When you do this for each doctor you are considering, picking the right one should become easier.