Robert Olexo, MD
Specialty: Family Medicine
Location and Office HoursFamily Medicine Center
40 Medical Park Dr Ste 401
Wheeling, WV 26003
- BlueCross BlueShield
- Medical Mutual of Ohio
- The Health Plan of Upper Ohio Valley
- United Healthcare
- Wheeling Hospital
Will I have to see a primary care provider for referrals to specialists?
Most health plans will require a referral from a primary care specialist before seeing another specialist such as a cardiologist or neurologist. However, some plans do not require a referral. It is best to check with your health plan before seeing another specialist to see if a referral is required. If one is required and you do not have one, you could end up paying the entire bill.
How do I choose a doctor for my cancer care?
American Cancer Society answered
Going through the process of choosing a doctor can take time, and many people are tempted to rush through it to start their treatment sooner. Keep in mind, though, that most people with cancer have enough time to be sure that they get the best care possible. Ask the doctor who found your cancer whether you need to take action right away or if you can take a short but safe amount of time to check out all your options.
Carefully choosing the doctor you need now (such as a good surgeon, radiologist, and/or oncologist) will pay off for years to come. Your relationship with this person will probably last through treatment into long-term follow-up care.
Before you start looking for a doctor, think about the qualities you want your doctor to have. For instance:
- Choose a doctor who has experience with your type of cancer. Studies show that doctors have better success treating a condition if they have a lot of experience with it.
- You will probably need a doctor who is part of your health plan (often called a preferred provider) and/or accepts your health insurance. Otherwise, you may have to pay for your health care yourself. (For more on this, call us at 1-800-227-2345 for a copy of Health Insurance and Financial Assistance for the Cancer Patient, or read it at cancer.org)
- Pick a doctor who has privileges (is able to practice) at a hospital that you are willing to use. Doctors can only send patients to hospitals where they have admitting privileges.
- Choose a doctor you feel comfortable with. Languages spoken, gender, ethnicity, and educational background may be important factors for you. You may also have strong feelings about personality and bedside manner. Some people prefer their doctors to have a business-like manner, while others value a doctor who can help with their emotional health as well as their medical needs. Many people whose illnesses require long-term treatment prefer a friendly relationship with their doctor.
The next step is to schedule appointments with a few doctors. The most important question to ask them is how much experience they have in treating your type of cancer. If you are meeting with surgeons, find out how often they perform the type of surgery you need, how many of these surgeries they have performed before, and what their success rate is.
How do I find the specialized surgeon I need?
Mehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answeredUse your doctor's referral as a starting point. Your primary care physician may recommend a surgeon that he or she has chosen many times for this surgery. There's a good chance he or she knows the doctor or that they're buddies. "She's excellent," your doctor may affirm, and in fact, this physician may be an excellent surgeon.
But you can't just fly on that alone, especially if the surgery is a highly complex one. Your smart-patient detective job is to find out if this is the most excellent surgeon you can choose for this particular operation. Ask your doctor for a few names, and investigate each.
Also, aside from asking your regular doctor to point you to the maestro of this surgery, doing Internet research can help you locate a hyper-specialized surgeon. You just have to hope that one works at your hospital, or you might be planning a road trip.
A good way to find a highly specialized surgeon is to look in medical studies.
Find out more about this book:YOU: The Smart Patient: An Insider's Handbook for Getting the Best Treatment
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