When choosing a provider or clinic, make a list of information that you want to have. Then, you or your advocate can call and ask for that information. Your questions may include:
- How long must I wait to get an appointment?
- What determines how long an appointment is?
- How long is the usual wait in the office before seeing the provider? (Getting the first appointment of the day or the first appointment after lunch may shorten your waiting time).
- How many patients does the practitioner usually see in a day? How many days each week does the provider see patients? Does the provider accept phone calls or have a "phone-in" hour? How long does it take providers to return phone calls?
- Who covers for the provider on her or his days off? What about nights and weekends? What hospital is the provider associated with?
- How much will my visit cost? Is Medicaid, Medicare, or other insurance accepted? Is there a discount for paying in cash? Can I pay in installments? Are screening and lab tests included in the cost of the visit
- What kinds of medical history does the provider request? Should I prepare it ahead of the appointment time?