by Lila Lazarus
Adventurous, fun-loving, healthy, 50-something woman seeks intelligent, compassionate, patient, trustworthy and attentive primary care physician for a long-term relationship.
Hard to admit, but I don’t have a doctor. Last year, my general practitioner went “concierge,” meaning his services now cost an extra $3,000 a year— a retainer fee paid by some patients to avoid crowded waiting rooms and get more personalized service.
While that may appeal to me someday, for now, the extra price tag seems exorbitant for someone I see maybe twice a year. So now I’m in search of. And I’m not alone. One out of eight people are looking for a new doctor, either because their doctor retired or changed plans or because of the quality of care from the doctor or staff.
Choosing your doctor is like choosing a spouse. Don’t take it lightly. It’s a major decision. So, I’ve made out a list of qualities I want to see in my new doc, and I’m not willing to settle. The person I choose will have a major impact on my health, keep me up-to-date on screenings, shots and health concerns, and make sure I take all the necessary preventative measures to stay healthy. So – at the risk of sounding like a cheesy personal ad – here goes.
Wanted: Doctor looking for a real partnership who treats patients with respect and really listens, taking time to make sure I understand. Should be easily reachable and even take emails. Should be friendly and warm with a strong focus on prevention and wellness.
Of course I need to be sure the doctor is in-network, taking new patients, connected to my preferred hospital (St. Joe’s) and within a 30-minute drive. But more important to me is my comfort level. We’re going to have some open, honest and intimate conversations, and I want to be sure we’re the right fit. Convenience also plays a role. I want to be sure lab work and x-rays can be done in the office or nearby. Yes, I’ll do my research on where the doctor went to school and if they are board-certified, but most important on my list is finding a confidante, a partner and a trusted adviser.
And, just so you know Doc, I’m not going to jump right in. I may court you for a while. I want to be sure the location is convenient, appointments are on time and the staff is friendly.
If you’re reading this and have a St. Joe’s doc you love, let me hear it. I know that a good referral is likely my best bet.
Dear Dream Doc, I know you’re out there. I hope I find you soon. Just in case you care – I’m a Leo.
Looking for a doctor or ready to make a switch? Visit stjoeshealth.org to find a doctor near you, or call 1-800-231-2211, and we can guide you through the process.