Find a primary care physician
in your community.
Call 443-849-GBMC (4262) or visit www.gbmc.org/mydoctor
Patients only have a limited amount of time to discuss concerns with their physician during a doctor's visit, so planning ahead is key:
- Bring an insurance card.
- Bring a list of questions, concerns and symptoms.
- For an annual check-up, bring a list of current medications, changes in medications and a list of any visits to the emergency room or to other providers, including ophthalmologists and dentists.
Choosing a primary care physician may seem like a daunting task at first. With so many physicians practicing, how does a patient find the right one?
According to Robin Motter-Mast, DO, GBMC's Chairman of Family Practice, patients should first and foremost keep their own preferences in mind when beginning a physician search. "Basic things such as age and gender of the physician can make a difference to patients depending on their own comfort levels," she says. Other details to consider include communication style, number of physicians in a practice, office location, accessibility and compatibility with insurance providers.
If access to care is a concern, think about looking for a primary care physician that is part of a group practice or has a nurse practitioner on staff. Mark Lamos, MD, President and Medical Director of Greater Baltimore Medical Associates and Internal Medicine physician at GBMC, explains, "Group practices and those that have other care providers available can help increase a patient's access to care. Routine problems can often be treated within hours."
"It's also important to bear in mind the specific needs of your family," states Dr. Lamos. For example, women may opt for a family medicine physician who also can provide gynecological care. Patients who suffer from chronic conditions may prefer a physician who focuses on disease treatment, while others may choose a doctor who concentrates on wellness and prevention.
Dr. Motter-Mast notes that, once a patient knows what characteristics he or she is looking for in a primary care physician, there are several research options. Hospital directories can provide callers with the names and contact information of physicians who are accepting new patients. "Recommendations made by friends and family are also helpful," she says. Insurance carriers, advocacy groups and county or state medical associations are other sources for physician listings.
Finally, patients should be aware that they have the option to meet with potential physicians before making a decision. "These types of interviews, which may carry a fee, are invaluable for getting to know a physician and his or her office staff, and experiencing the overall environment," says Dr. Motter-Mast.