How to Choose a Health Care Provider06/01/2022 ● By Pilar Bradshaw, M.D., F.A.A.P.
When should you start looking for a pediatrician?
The best time to start looking for a pediatrician is while you’re still pregnant, typically when you’re between 28 and 34 weeks along. By then, you’ve probably thought about the qualities you’re seeking in a pediatrician. Allow yourself enough time to do your homework.
During your baby’s first year of life, you will see your doctor 6-8 times for well-baby checkups, not to mention unplanned visits for situations like a fever or a first cold.
At some point, you may also need a pediatrician for an older child, maybe if you’re new to the area, which is also a great time to consider all your options.
What to consider when choosing a pediatrician
It may be difficult to know where to start, but your family, friends or co-workers who have children are often great resources when it comes to learning more about local pediatric providers.
- Attending a new-parent class or a meet-and-greet event. That’s a good opportunity to meet pediatricians and ask questions about the doctor and the clinic.
- Asking how the clinic handles phone calls for medical assistance outside regular clinic hours and who will see your child if your pediatrician is unavailable.
- Inquiring about the provider’s stance on issues that are important to you.
Whomever you choose, you should feel comfortable having an open discussion about your thoughts and feelings and beliefs and be able to ask questions about what your pediatrician may recommend. You don’t have to agree on everything, but you should feel confident that they’re listening to you and trying to address your concerns.
Integrative health care matters
Another thing to weigh when choosing a pediatrician is how the provider integrates health care services. It’s important to understand the support network of the providers and the clinic. Are there avenues for mental health issues, for example?
Eugene Pediatric Associates is integrated and operates under the same roof as Thrive Behavioral Health, which works with children, adolescents, parents, schools and health care providers involved with behavioral and developmental care. Eugene Pediatrics also provides important social work through experienced case managers, for example.
Accessing information when you need it
In addition to in-person care, Eugene Pediatrics provides parents additional support through its comprehensive website and active Facebook and Instagram presence—places where parents can easily access information beyond their scheduled appointments.
One other important note in choosing a pediatrician: Once you’ve compiled a few names of doctors you’re interested in, make sure they are providers covered by your health insurance plan. Check your plan online or call your health plan provider directly.