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    Whether you’re expecting your first child, moving to a new town, or have new health insurance, it’s time to find a pediatrician. So choose wisely. After all, your child will see your pediatrician of choice from birth through the age of 18. Read >>
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Health and Fitness News

Choosing a Pediatrician

Tips to find the right fit for your family.

Whether you’re expecting your first child, moving to a new town, or have new health insurance, it’s time to find a pediatrician. So choose wisely. After all, your child will see your pediatrician of choice from birth through the age of 18.

From minor colds and stomach bugs to serious diseases, pediatricians are specially trained to diagnose and treat children’s illnesses. But that’s not all they do. Pediatricians make sure children reach developmental milestones, provide referrals to specialists, and advise parents on children’s nutrition, health, and fitness. Before your child is two years old, you’ll visit the pediatrician several times. After age two, an annual checkup ensures your little one maintains good health.

With so much interaction, you want a good relationship with your pediatrician. You want someone you can trust, someone you feel is qualified to provide the best care possible for your child. Many communities have dozens of pediatricians to choose from. If you feel dizzy from the options, here are a few tips to help you decide on the best fit for your family.

Questions Your Friends

One of the best places to start your search for the right pediatrician is with people you know. Ask for a referral from friends, relatives, coworkers, neighbors, and other doctors. Ask what pediatrician they see, how long they’ve seen them, and why they like that particular doctor. Ask if there are pediatricians in the area they wouldn’t recommend and why. Take these honest answers to help you narrow down your choices.

Question the Office Staff

After talking with friends, the next step is to call a few pediatricians’ offices. A few questions will help narrow down your choice of pediatrician. Ask if the practice accepts your health insurance. If not, that may be the only question you need to ask. Otherwise, find out how they process your insurance. Other questions include:

• What fees does the office charge for well visits and sick visits?
• What are the office hours? Are there weekend or evening appointments available?
• What’s the average waiting room time?
• Where is the office located and is it easily accessible?

Question the Pediatrician

Once you narrow down to two or three pediatricians, schedule a telephone or in-person interview. If you visit the office, ask to tour the facility. Take note of how things are run. Are there separate well-child and sick-child waiting areas? Is the facility clean? Is the office staff friendly and organized? How long did you have to wait to see the doctor?

During your meeting with the pediatrician, have questions on hand to make the most of your time. Questions you may want to ask include the following:

• Are they accepting new patients?
• Where did they attend medical school and residency training?
• Are they board certified?
• How long have they been practicing?
• What hospital are they connected to and what are their hospital appointment hours?
• How does the doctor handle phone calls during business hours and after business hours?
• Is there an answering service or a nurse on-call?
• How quickly can you expect a return call?
• Are there other physicians in the practice your child can see if your pediatrician is unavailable?
• Do they schedule same-day appointments for illnesses?
• What are the doctor’s views on immunizations, circumcision, breastfeeding, antibiotics, or alternative medicine?

Notice during the interview if you found it easy to talk with the pediatrician. Did you like their personality? Did they seem rushed? Did they take time to clearly answer your questions? Were they a good listener?

Picking the right pediatrician isn’t always easy. With this information, it’ll be a little bit easier.

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