You’re so busy preparing for the physical needs of your soon-to-arrive baby, it’s easy to forget that finding a pediatrician is something that may take some time and effort. And it should be done before baby arrives. To make things easier on you, we’ve simplified the process to six easy steps below.
photo: David Salafia via flickr
Step 1: Determine what factors are important to you in a pediatrician.
Things you may want to think about are:
- How many physicians, physicians assistants, nurse practitioners are in the practice
- Ease of making/getting appointments
- Experience levels of the staff
- Regular business hours and after-hours care
- If there are separate waiting rooms for sick kids and well visits
- Their philosophy of care
- Where they have hospital privileges
- How they prefer to communicate with you
Step 2: Check your insurance to see which providers are in network.
It’s helpful to get a basic idea of which providers are available to you through your insurance. Sometimes, it’s worth it to pay more out of pocket for an out-of-network provider. That, of course, depends on your insurance plan. Give your insurance a call to find out the low-down on what your financial obligation will be for both in- and out-of-network options.
Step 3: Ask your friends for recommendations.
Your friends’ personal experiences with their providers is always a great step toward getting narrowing down what may be a good fit for your family. Ask your buddies about both positive and negative experiences they’ve had with their pediatrician’s practice. One additional step is to join a parents group on social media for your local area and ask them for feedback. Parents love to share their experiences with important team members like pediatricians. And you are sure to find the honest scoop on providers in your area when asked. You will probably notice that several physicians get repeated mentions as providers that are amazing or those who fall short of the mark. Check these physicians against your insurance list to get an idea of where to go from there.
Step 4: Interview pediatricians over the phone.
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of pediatricians, review their websites and schedule an interview to discuss the factors above. While this may be more difficult to do with COVID-19 restrictions in place, it’s not impossible. If the pediatrician is not available, ask to speak with a physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner or nurse. In every other area of our lives we talk to the people “doing the work.” So talking to your prospective provider should be no different. Even if they are a busy, thriving practice (which can be a good sign), they should be able to spend 5 minutes telling you about their practice before you give them your business.
photo: ElenaBuzmakova_Borisova via Pixabay
Step 5: Verify if they accept your insurance.
While you are chatting with the pediatrician’s office, verify they are accepting your insurance and new patients. Your insurance website may not be up to date and it can be very frustrating to find a perfect fit, only to realize the office no longer takes your insurance or isn’t accepting new patients.
Step 6: Make your choice & set it up.
Now that you’ve gotten the scoop on the pediatrician’s offices in your area, you are now ready to choose the lucky practice that will partner with you in your baby’s health! Let them know that you would like to have them as your provider as soon as your little one arrives and ask them if there is any paperwork you need to fill out prior to that. Find out their protocol once your baby is born now—how soon they will want to see your baby after birth and when you should call to make your first appointment.
Congratulations! You can now check off one more thing on your “must do” list for welcoming your sweet bundle and get back to choosing diapers, bottles and other baby essentials. Stay tuned for our second article on important questions to ask during your first pediatrician appointment.