In today’s fast-paced world, you can never be too sure about the health of your loved ones. Your family needs a good primary care professional to keep a check on their well-being. An excellent primary care professional can manage chronic diseases such as arthritis, improve lifestyles and save minor illnesses from escalating into major problems.
Primary healthcare professionals know patients well, with the dedicated ones being able to glean everything from a patient’s medical history. They also keep everyone’s list of allergies and prior medical treatment handy. So, it would help if you took the time to connect with an excellent primary care professional who can help your family. Here’s you can locate the appropriate professional:
1. Check for availability and credentials
Your family will have the option to go to a Primary Care Physician (PCP) or a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP). Both professionals are qualified for primary care. However, most PCPs are extremely busy working roughly 50 hours a week, according to a 2018 Physicians Foundation. There may be a chance your family may not get an appointment right away. Therefore, you may want to investigate an FNP.
While an FNP may work about 40 hours a week, they have the credentials to look after your family. A nurse practitioner with a Master of Science in Nursing FNP Degree has the clinical skills, knowledge, and experience to check your loved ones. These professionals can also counsel about lifestyle changes and discuss test results and diagnoses with your family. FNP’s have a mixture of holistic and medical approaches towards patients. Therefore, your relatives will get adequate treatment and guidance on what they need to do to stay healthy.
2. Get referrals
Going through people close to you will streamline the search for a primary healthcare provider. You may ask your friends, neighbors, and extended family to get an idea about primary healthcare workers. You should look up these professionals online to make a better judgment call when you get a few names.
One size doesn’t fit all, so don’t go with the first recommendation you get. Unless you research and learn about different primary care professionals, your family will have trouble finding the appropriate help.
Stick with well-rated professionals who get along with children and teenagers. Getting one primary healthcare professional makes it easier to connect all your family members to adequate help. It also eliminates anxiety about managing multiple schedules and sending medical documents to different places.
3. Get details on your family’s insurance
According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2020, over 90% of Americans had full healthcare insurance with maximum coverage. However, this also shows that less than 10% of the people did not have varying degrees of care.
You need to check with your family about insurance and ensure they aren’t left without coverage. This will help you know what primary healthcare professionals they can visit. There are five types of insurance coverages:
- Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs). An HMO is a public organization that provides primary health services to its subscribers. They enter into contracts with local primary care providers, clinical facilities, and specialists. They have pre-determined co-pays, which allows them to charge lower premiums than other healthcare plans.
However, suppose your family needs specialized care. In that case, they will only get a referral from their primary care provider to a specialist within the HMO network.
- Exclusive Provider Organizations (EPOs). An EPO is a managed care plan in which your family will be covered if they go to the healthcare facilities in the plan’s network. However, only during emergencies does this rule get exempted. Your family will also not need a referral to see a specialist.
But, while the plan will cover your family for out-of-network emergencies, the hospital can still bill them for the difference between hospital charges and the insurance company’s payments.
- Point-of-Service (POS) Plans. POS is a type of healthcare insurance that will provide your family with a limited list of in-network healthcare practitioners or out-of-network healthcare providers. While POS may be similar to HMOs, unlike the latter, POS will allow your family to see out-of-network healthcare practitioners. So, if your loved ones need a referral for a specialist, they will be able to get one off the network.
However, while regular POS plans are affordable, premium plans can cost more than the HMO premium ones. The list of primary care providers is also not extensive.
- Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs). PPOs are medical arrangements between medical professionals and healthcare insurance companies. This will get your family access to various services provided by the healthcare facilities at a reduced rate. A PPO’s coverage is quite extensive and will also pay for your family’s out-of-network practitioner. Your family will also not need a referral to see a specialist.
That being said, PPOs charge a higher premium than other healthcare plans and can become costly to manage.
- Medicare is a federal health insurance program for the physically disabled and chronically ill elderly and older adults in general. It has two parts. Part A covers inpatient hospital costs, including nurses, hospice, and facilities such as X-rays with no premium fees.
Part B covers the medical expenses which come with outpatient care, the services a doctor will provide your family, and medical supplies. Part B plan charges your family a monthly premium. However, Medicare may not cover routine checkups and some prescription medicines, which would mean additional expenses on your family.
Once you know your family’s health plan, match it with the primary care provider that best suits their budget and needs.
4. Observe the primary care provider’s bedside manner
When your family goes for an appointment, you should go with them. This will allow you to make small observations about the bedside manner of the primary care provider as they get to work. Notice how they address your loved one, including tone, questions, and body language. You want to ensure that the primary care professional gets all relevant details such as medical history, past usage in medicines, and allergies.
If the care provider is too dismissive, abrasive, or asks intrusive questions, this is a red flag you should take note of. However, a lack of questions may lead to a misdiagnosis which can harm your loved one and should also be avoided.
5. Look into virtual appointments
Your family may prefer seeing a doctor virtually over an in-person appointment. This is because virtual doctor visits have advantages such as convenience, comfort, and cost-effectiveness. According to Modality, over 90% of patients said that telemedicine helped them make their medical appointments and follow their PCPs advice.
Therefore, check with primary care professionals who can virtually look after your family member. This will also encourage your disabled loved ones to seek primary care help without worrying about navigating through an impersonal and hectic hospital.
Your family needs an exemplary primary care professional in their life to manage their well-being. Matching with an adequate provider is of the utmost importance. Therefore, you can make the process easier by following the tips mentioned above. Don’t hesitate to enlist an FNP as the direct healthcare provider for your family since most have appropriate skills and knowledge. Telehealth has become increasingly popular among patients, so make sure you get to know a primary healthcare provider who will assist your family online.