Choosing a Pediatrician/Doctor for your Child

Advice about choosing the right pediatrician/doctor for your child.

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Important Message from Park Slope Parents (PSP): Just a reminder, PSP member posts are not checked for accuracy. The content is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. www.parkslopeparents.com is not intended to, and does not, provide medical advice diagnosis or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice, or delay in seeking it, because of something you have read on the PSP groups or on the www.parkslopeparents.com website.

 

Overview:

·        Some doctors have open hours to meet with potential new patients while others may charge a fee for an interview/visit which may or may not be covered by insurance. Don't rule out a doctor just because they charge; many of those are the best ones!

·        Check the Park Slope Parents website for reviews from members on doctors. These reviews can offer background about the doctor’s style, bedside manner, specialties, appointment considerations and overall experience. If you are a PSP member, you can always ask the group for perspective on similar, specific situations.

 

Basic Questions:

·        Are you looking for a pediatrician (who specializes in "kids") or a family/general practitioner (from birth to old age)?

·        Does the gender of the doctor matter?  This may become an issue when your child(ren) is(are) older.

·        Do they take your insurance?

·        How far are you wanting to travel? Are there multiple offices you may have to travel to for a sick visit?

 

Questions before setting up an interview:

·        Is the doctor accepting new patients?

·        Does the doctor take your insurance? Does the practice do all the insurance paperwork?

·        Is it a group practice or individual? If a group practice, are you able to see who you want? If it is an individual, who is on call when your doctor isn't?

·        Does the office accept patients who are not immunized? If so, the waiting room may not be safe for babies.

·        Can you get same day sick visits or will you be expected to take your child to a clinic/emergency room?

·        Do they have a separate area for well and sick children?

·        Can they send paperwork via email/fax? Making a special trip for forms and paperwork can be time-consuming.

·        What are the office hours?  Do they have Saturday hours?

·        Do appointments start on time or are they delayed?  If they are delayed, what are the wait times like?

·        Does the staff seem nice on the phone? In person? These are the folks who will help you through billing issues.

·        Is it easy to get to? Remember, convenience is a plus; especially with a sick child.

·        What happens in case of emergency calls?

·        Can you make appointments online?

·        Does the doctor/practice do blood draws? If not, where will you be expected to go? Is it far?

·        Do they charge extra to fill out forms (e.g., camp forms) since this fee is not covered by insurance?

 

Questions for/about the doctor/practice:

·        How long has the doctor been in practice? Why did they choose pediatrics?

·        What hospital(s) is the doctor affiliated with? Does that hospital take your insurance?

·        Does the doctor see babies through teens?

·        What is the doctor’s philosophy about antibiotics?

·        Do you accept samples or gifts from pharma companies? If so, does it affect your prescribing practices?

·        Does the doctor/group have set strategies about breastfeeding, sleep training, circumcision, and vaccines?

·        Are they open to alternative ways of doing things (e.g. delaying vaccinations)?

·        If you have set ways you want to do things, ask how they feel about this (e.g., attachment parenting, breastfeeding, sleep and discipline issues)

·        Does the doctor accept and answer questions by email/text?

·        Does the doctor use lots of big medical terms? Does she/he answer the questions directly?

 

FINAL GUT CHECK:

·       How is their demeanor?

·       Do you like the person?

·       Do they make you feel comfortable about your choices?

Some of these things you just won't know until you spend more time with them, but an interview can help you do an initial 'gut check.'

 

GOOD LUCK! 

Remember, you can ALWAYS make a different choice!

 

Useful resources from PSP:

PSP member reviews about pediatricians.