In Texas, there are more than 4,000 pediatricians giving medical care to children. That gives you a lot of options but it can also feel overwhelming to find the best doctor for your family.
Many families have been disappointed in the care they’ve had through in-network options. And that’s why so many are choosing to go with a pediatric direct primary care provider. This gives families more freedom over their medical care.
Direct care is a new option for many areas. Check out this guide for everything you need to know and tips for finding the best provider!
Ask Questions About How Direct Care Works
For many, getting medical care has always involved an insurance company. Going to a direct care physician can be a completely different experience. And that’s why it’s so important to ask a lot of questions before your first appointment.
It can be helpful to have a consultation meeting before any treatment. Just to make sure you understand what to expect. This can also be done over the phone as well.
Beforehand, make a list of questions you have. This ensures you don’t miss anything along the way. This little extra effort can make all the difference in feeling prepared to see your new doctor.
Learn About Non-Insurance Payment Options
The biggest questions you’re likely to have will be about paying for treatment. Since it’s different without insurance coverage.
Typically, primary care doctors will bill your insurance after an appointment. Then the insurance will pay a portion of all of the bill depending on your plan. If there’s anything left on the bill, you’re responsible for that.
With direct care, you cut out the insurance step completely. You pay the doctor directly after the service.
Some providers offer a membership to help cover some of these costs. This way you pay a monthly fee to the clinic and get some services in return. Each clinic has different plans and terms, so make sure to look into those.
Insurance coverage is still encouraged for emergency situations. Or care outside of your primary provider.
Check for Access to a Patient Portal
It used to be very difficult to get access to your medical chart or in touch with your provider. Now, many clinics have solved that issue by using patient portals.
These online systems allow you to electronically connect to your provider. This means you can have immediate access to your chart. That includes your history, appointment summaries, and even test results. You can also check on prescriptions or upcoming appointments.
Some of these programs also allow you to message a provider for advice. Or if you need clarification between appointments.
It’s a good idea to check if your new clinic offers this kind of thing. They can make a huge difference in feeling like you’re getting the best care possible. Especially when you have multiple family members to take care of.
Outline a Typical Visit
Going to the doctor seems routine. Like every visit is going to be the same no matter where you go or who you see. But this isn’t always the case.
Many people find it helpful to get an outline for a typical visit before seeing a new provider.
This way you can know what to expect as fast as how the clinic operates. You can ask about things like average wait times or what the check-in process looks like. This is also a good time to figure out how long the doctor will have with you so you can plan accordingly.
The more you know going into the first appointment, the more confident you can feel. It also sets you up with realistic expectations for the visit.
Listen for Communication Type
Good communication from a primary care doctor can drastically improve a patient’s experience. There’s nothing worse than visiting the doctor and feeling like you aren’t being heard at all. Especially when you or your loved one are experiencing some illness.
As you do your research into a clinic, pay attention to how the staff communicates. How the rest of the staff speaks with you can be a good indication of what to expect from the provider.
Obviously, you want those you’re working with to be kind and respectful. But you also want them to pay attention to what you’re saying and answer your questions fully. It can be really frustrating to only get partial answers.
Poor experiences with this staff before your visit means chances are it will be the same later.
Review Who Can Be Seen
A direct primary care physician isn’t limited to pediatricians. There are all kinds of primary care doctors who use this style of treatment. And that means you could potentially find one provider for the whole family.
Not every primary care provider sees the whole range of ages. But it’s worth the little effort to find out how many of your family members can be seen by the same person.
Many families feel they can make stronger relationships with their provider. And, so, have better care because the doctor understands them and their history better. It also makes getting healthcare for a whole family much easier logistically.
Look for Well-Rounded Care
The healthcare industry has a bad reputation for focusing on only one element of healing. Too often we are just given a band-aid fix for their problems instead of getting to the roots. This can lead to other serious problems or prolonged suffering.
This can be avoided when you find a primary care doctor who focuses on the big picture. As well as all the details of your life.
Look for a doctor who also offers lifestyle medicine treatments. This means they help with nutrition, exercise, and sleep. They also focus on your mental health, which plays a huge role in physical wellness.
Instead of just pushing a medicine, they will help you adjust your daily life for better healing. It’s a more well-rounded way to live a healthy life.
Focus on Specialty Care
When your family has certain health problems, it’s important to find a provider who has the expertise they need.
Often, a primary care doctor isn’t going to have a specialty since they treat for general wellness. But it can be helpful to find a clinic that does offer the pediatric specialty your family needs. That way you can continue to get care all in the same place.
It’s also helpful to have a team of doctors who all work together to make sure you get the full care you need. They can collaborate together to come up with the best solutions.
Even if your family doesn’t have any special needs, it’s still important to know what’s offered. Just in case the need ever does come up.
Request Information on Preventative Care
Some providers only focus on the problem at hand. They fail to offer preventative care that can help keep a patient much healthier. It’s a good idea to find someone who will help you make decisions that can keep you from having health issues.
This is important if your family has any history of serious medical problems. That could include diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or many others.
Before you begin seeing a doctor, ask what kind of preventative care they provide. These kinds of treatments will be built-in to your regular care. So it’s helpful to know what to expect ahead of time.
There’s a good feeling that comes when you know your doctor is trying to keep you as healthy as possible.
Open Schedule Availability
There’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to see your doctor when you want to. Whether that be for a regular check-up or when you’re sick.
That’s why you should always ask about scheduling with a clinic to see what the availability is like.
Children require many more regular appointments than adults or teenagers. Especially babies who are seen multiple times within their first year. So keep those routine schedules in mind when asking these questions.
It’s also helpful to know the best ways to schedule an appointment. So you’re not trying to figure that out in a desperate time of need. The more you know, the easier it will be to get in to see your direct care provider.
Figure Out if There are Other Ways to Contact
Going to the clinic is rarely very convenient. Being sick doesn’t normally happen when you have a lot of extra time. And sometimes you just need a quick answer from the provider instead of a full visit.
This is why it’s helpful to know if there are other ways to contact your providers than a traditional visit.
Some patients like to be able to message through a portal for those quick questions. While others like to have a virtual visit where they can see the doctor and explain what’s happening. Either way, having other options can make getting help much easier.
Get a Cost Breakdown for Services
Since you’ll be paying on your own for your direct primary care, it’s crucial to have a cost breakdown. You should have a good estimate of what your visit will cost you before you walk in the door. This way you can budget for the healthcare that you need and be as prepared as possible.
First, you’ll want to know what the cost of a membership is. This will get you started with the provider and cover most of your treatment costs.
Ask for a full breakdown of everything included in your membership. There may be some procedures, tests, or prescriptions that won’t be covered by this fee. Those should come with an estimated cost as well.
Once you get these figures, you’ll see how beneficial it is to see a direct care provider.
Consider Previous Patient Outcomes
The last thing anyone wants is to establish care with a new provider only to realize it’s not a good fit. Especially when there is a specific health condition you’re trying to find a solution for.
Looking into patient outcomes can be a great way to see what kind of success a doctor has. You want to find someone who is willing to do whatever they can to help you feel the best you can. Even if that means trying several different treatments until finding the right fit.
When talking to the clinic, ask about success rates in treating the specific issues you have. It can lead to very helpful information and finding the best doctor for you!
Research Patient Satisfaction Levels
Along the same lines, it’s also good to know how satisfied patients have been with the care they received. Whether they found the solution or not.
Check personal references and online reviews to see what the provider is really like. These insights can be invaluable to figuring out where to take your children. They may also help prompt other questions you hadn’t thought to ask before starting care as well.
Finding a good doctor for your kids is key to setting them up for a healthy life. You want them to have positive experiences so they continue to prioritize good medical care throughout their life.
Finding the Best Pediatric Direct Primary Care for Your Child
Finding pediatric direct primary care for your family can be a game-changer. Instead of trying to fit your medical needs into your insurance coverage, you can just get the care you need.
This type of clinic allows both the patient and the provider the ability to work together for the best care. Everyone gets the time and attention they need to feel their best.
Our team is dedicated to giving outstanding medical care to each of our patients. If you’re interested in learning more about our practice, contact us today!