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Choosing a new doctor? What seniors need to know

As we approach a new year, you may be considering a change in your primary care physician. Perhaps your doctor is retiring or no longer accepts your insurance. Maybe you’ve moved to a new town or state. Or, you could be looking for a doctor with experience treating older adults.

Based on your specific medical needs, you can search for just the right doctor. A good first step in your search is to make a list of skills and traits you want for your new doctor and office. Questions to ask yourself include:

• Do you want a doctor who’s specially trained to care for seniors?

• Do you want an office that provides several services under one roof?

• Is the doctor going to treat your physical and emotional wellness?

• Do you want a doctor that will spend extra time to really listen to you?

• Are you looking for a care team to help you alongside your doctor?

• Do you need a primary care network that has many locations in your area that you can easily access?

From here, you can start making your list of potential new doctors. You can also ask your family and friends for recommendations. Be sure to check your insurer’s list of participating doctors. This can be helpful, especially if you’ve moved to a new area or have a complex medical history and require care from specialists.

After you’ve compiled your list of potential doctors, you should ask yourself a few more practical questions to help identify their candidates:

• Is the doctor accepting new patients?

• Does the practice accept your insurance?

• Is the office conveniently located?

• What days and hours does the doctor see patients?

• If you use a walker, cane or wheelchair, is the office accessible?

• How long does it take to get an appointment?

• Can you make appointments online?

• Who would provide care after-hours or when the doctor is out of town?

• Do you have access to a teledoctor? Are you able to have virtual visits?

• What are the options for asking the doctor questions? Does he or she have call-in hours or answer questions via email?

Asking these questions can help you narrow down your list to a few doctors who could be the perfect fit. The next step is to call their offices. The office staff is a good source of information about the doctor’s education and qualifications, office policies and payment procedures. You may also want to set up an appointment to meet and talk with a doctor. This will help you to see if you feel comfortable around them.

Having good communication with your doctor is one of the most important steps to getting proper healthcare. Your doctor should be open to getting to know you and what your health is normally like. The better they know you, the better they’ll be at making medical decisions that match your values and daily habits. Your doctor should also keep in touch with any other medical specialists and healthcare providers involved in keeping you well.

If you’re looking for a primary care provider for senior-focused care, visit CenterWell Senior Primary Care. CenterWell offers seniors the time, space and respect they deserve. Beyond providing one-stop primary care for seniors in convenient locations, our centers offer shorter wait times, longer appointment windows, fun social activities and more.

CenterWell’s dedicated and compassionate doctors are specially trained to treat patients 65 and older. Our approach to senior care considers all aspects of their health -- physical, emotional and social -- because it’s all connected.

Each patient has their own CenterWell Care Team, which includes nurses, a clinical pharmacist and behavioral health specialists. Together with our doctors, these professionals create personalized care plans, enabling patients to receive comprehensive care. This is made possible by how much time they spend listening and getting to know each patient.

Are you or someone you know Medicare-eligible and searching for a senior-focused primary care doctor? If so, CenterWell is all about giving our patients the time, attention and care they deserve. Visit or call 713-804-2503 to find out more about CenterWell locations in your area.