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babyOne of the many choices you will make for your children begins before birth with picking a pediatrician.

Immediately after your baby is born or arrival of your adopted child, your pediatrician will examine the child. It is a relationship that fosters trust and good health for years to come. So, what is it we look for in a pediatrician? What style of doctor will suit you and your family? There are so many choices and guidelines dictated by medical insurance, that the process can get quite confusing. Answering the following questions may help you decide.

1) Do you want someone in private practice or a group?

   -   The private practitioner is wonderful because he/she is the only doctor to see your child. This allows for a close and consistent relationship.
   -   The group practice setting may have more hours of availability, and a team approach to care. For some parents, this may be the better option.

2) Location and Admitting privileges.

   -   Is the office close to your home?
   -   Where does the doctor have admitting privileges in the event of a hospital stay?

3) Male or Female?

   -   Some mothers are more comfortable and less intimidated by female physicians. A young girl approaching adolescence may prefer a female.

4) Bedside Manner and Knowledge

   -   It is difficult to determine a doctor’s level of knowledge, however, references from family members or friends can assist you in your choices. they can tell you how the doctor handled their situations. How the doctor handled their children and how the doctor handled the parents concerns.

One of the best ways to determine which pediatrician is right for you and your child is to interview. After the basics are predetermined in your mind, call the offices listed by your insurance companies. An office that has no time to talk over the phone is obviously too busy to handle another patient. Below are some questions for the office staff:

1) What are your office hours?

2) How do you handle after hour emergencies?

3) When the doctor is away, who is on call?

4) My insurance is ______ . Do you have space for additional patients?

5) Which hospitals does the doctor have admitting privileges?

After you have narrowed down you selections by interviewing the office staff, it's time to interview the pediatricians. Make an appointment to speak with the doctor face to face. If this is impossible due to your work schedule, schedule telephone time. Below are areas that should be discussed:

1) Are you certified by the American Board of Pediatrics?

2) How do you feel about second opinions?

3) Decide which health issues are important to you (such as breast-feeding, immunizations). How do you feel about these issues that are important to me?

4) If your child has special needs, inquire as to the doctors expertise in that area.

For example: My child has asthma, how do you manage Asthma in children?

5) Ask the pediatrician again, How do you handle after hour emergencies?

The last step in this process is to evaluate the information you have received and determine how each meeting felt. Were you at ease talking to the doctor? Did you feel free to express your feelings? Did you feel comfortable asking questions?

Finally, it is possible to do a background check with the state medical licensing board. You will find the telephone number under state listings in the phone book.



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How to Choose a Pediatrician


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