Wednesday, October 20, 2021

How To Smoothly Transition To A New Doctor

 Whether you’re moving, or are ditching a bad doctor, you want to make the transition to a new doctor as smooth as you can, to make sure you don’t experience a break in your care. Here’s how to do it. 


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To make the transition from your old doctor to your new one go a smoothly as you can, you want to carry out a few steps. 


Find A New Doctor First

If you’re choosing to find a new doctor, then make sure you can get in with the new one before you leave your existing surgery. You might not always be able to because:

  • They may not be accepting new patients

  • They don’t accept Medicaid patients

  • Specialists are all booked up


When you find a new doctor, set up an introductory appointment before you leave your old one. 


Have A Final Visit

Book in one last appointment with the doctor that you are leaving. In this appointment, you can:

  • Ask for a status report on current or recurring health conditions. Take notes, if you can. 

  • Discuss your reasons for leaving, if you wish to. Try not to burn any bridges as the medical community is a small one. Making your old doctor angry could make it harder to find a new one. 

  • Get copies of your medical records for the past several years, especially ones that relate to current or chronic problems, so your new doctor will have access to your notes, test results, and other information that will be useful to them. Ask your new doctor if they will take care of this step, as many do. 


Get Your Medical Records

You have a right to your medical records under HIPAA. However, each state does have it own laws about how you have to make a formal request to get them, so check first. You will probably need to:

  • Make the request in writing

  • Pay for copies

  • Give them time to comply


If your old doctor uses an electronic medical record-keeping system and your old one doesn’t, or has a system that is very different, this might change the process. 


Do I Have To Say Why I’m Leaving

No. if you’re leaving because you’re unhappy, you don’t have to share. 


If you’re leaving because you don’t have a choice, such as because you are moving away or your insurance has changed, it can be nice to let your doctor know, so they know there wasn’t a problem with their care. 


If you’re leaving due to problems with the doctor, and you think this information would be valuable to them, you can tell them, although it’s best to stay away if you’re seeking advice from a medical malpractice attorney. This conversation will be awkward, but if you can manage it, it might help other patients. 


You could choose to write them a letter or an email, if you’re angry and upset and would rather not face them. Explaining your reasons might feel cathartic, and could help your doctor o change their habits to better care for their other patients. 


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