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How does one go about finding a new doctor after a move?

Belasco32Belasco32 Registered User regular
Just to be entirely clear I'm not looking for medical advice.

spool32 and I recently moved from the Austin, TX area to the Charlotte, NC area and that naturally meant I needed to quickly find new doctors. I've been beating my head against this issue since mid-August. The noise to sound ratio online is awful and twice now I've found doctors with multiple 5-star reviews on more than one site only to discover they either won't treat me ("we're sorry, Dr. Idiot doesn't feel comfortable working with people with your diagnosis") or only actually know how to treat Normals* ("We're sorry, Dr. Asshat doesn't feel comfortable writing prescriptions, but we're happy to refer to to several specialists you don't need to see that juts happen to also be in our health care network...")

*
"normals" is a term used, occasionally disparagingly, by people who live with chronic illnesses to describe people who do not live with chronic illnesses. Also, the quotes are very, very close to verbatim.

So, I'm trying to figure out how to actually find a doctor. I'm particularly looking for a GP/PCP, preferably a D.O. My amazingly wonderful doctor for the last nearly 15 years is a D.O. - unfortunately, he's the one we left back in TX and, nope, he doesn't have any recommendations for this part of the country. Also, the only doctor I do like here so far is a neurologist who is a D.O. - unfortunately, she's also a recent transplant here and didn't have any suggestions for how to find a new PCP.

I'm not coy about my conditions or the medications I take, if you feel that's relevant please say so and feel free to ask me whatever.

Bel looks like a badass bitch that's kept an unruly house in line through sheer force of will

Posts

  • PowerpuppiesPowerpuppies Registered User regular
    Have you tried zocdoc? That's the only thing that helped me when I had to do this. Also, this is a giant pain, sorry you have to do it

    sig.gif
    Belasco32
  • MazzyxMazzyx Comedy Gold Registered User regular
    Yay new doctor time. I remember having to do this when I moved to DC.

    So first basic recommendation is if you can get a hold of any local nurses, especially NPs and ask them who their GP/PCP is. I know you like D.O.s but this might get you an MD. But most nurse I know are super picky about their docs and also have a good background of finding ones who deal with folks who are high needs/chronic illness. That is literally how I found my GP here in DC. Mine will get me in when I need it. Isn't afraid to proscribe. Also nags me which I also needed.

    Second if that isn't possible start digging through the list of the insurance. Again most are MDs but this is always important for in network stuff. Look for internist and possibly folks with some work in geriatrics. This sounds odd but the fact is folks who work with the elderly have to be more on point as more issues show up. And that is true for folks like us with Chronic Illness. Top it off they should have a very broad and well rounded network of specialist for when the need arises. Also if you can find an office that has the GP but also an NP. NPs come at things with a different view and I think having both on your team is important.

    Last ask folks at Spool's work. Especially people who grew up in the area as that means family docs if they exist.

    I would tend to avoid any of the "review" sites for docs. People don't know what they really need in a doctor. Nice is great, meticulous, obsessive, educated, and aggressive with treatment is better. Finding folks who keep up with the latest research, who care, but also follow up is more important than pure bed side manner which I feel most of the folks rate on.

    03x29di.png
    IrukaBelasco32
  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    If you already have a diagnosis and need continued medication and treatment, any doctor will probably do so you can get refills.

    If it's a chronic illness that requires an infusion or opioid pain relief, you will probably have to brave the specialist referral gauntlet at least once.

  • Belasco32Belasco32 Registered User regular
    dispatch.o wrote: »
    If you already have a diagnosis and need continued medication and treatment, any doctor will probably do so you can get refills.

    If it's a chronic illness that requires an infusion or opioid pain relief, you will probably have to brave the specialist referral gauntlet at least once.

    Unfortunately, it really isn't that easy or cut and dry. Just trying to get medicine for hypothyroidism has been difficult. I won't even start on what it's like trying to live with a chronic pain condition, because that's far too big of a mess to attempt here and I have that mostly handled: I have a pain management doctor, but he won't prescribe anything other than the one medication he feels is solidly in his wheelhouse even though there are 3 I've been on for years that help with the pain and mean I don't need stronger pain medications.

    Bel looks like a badass bitch that's kept an unruly house in line through sheer force of will
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    My only advice is to expand your search to the entirety of the triangle if you haven't already. I haven't lived there since 2010, but when I was there the resources in the area were very much spread around the three cities.

  • Belasco32Belasco32 Registered User regular
    Iruka wrote: »
    My only advice is to expand your search to the entirety of the triangle if you haven't already. I haven't lived there since 2010, but when I was there the resources in the area were very much spread around the three cities.

    we're pretty far from there, well over 2hrs :(

    Bel looks like a badass bitch that's kept an unruly house in line through sheer force of will
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    Could you find a local support group for people with chronic health conditions? Facebook is good for this sort of thing. They might have recs.

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Belasco32 wrote: »
    Iruka wrote: »
    My only advice is to expand your search to the entirety of the triangle if you haven't already. I haven't lived there since 2010, but when I was there the resources in the area were very much spread around the three cities.

    we're pretty far from there, well over 2hrs :(

    Yikes, sorry. I was thinking of Chapel Hill. Shows how long I've been out of the area.

    If the search continues to be rough, I would still look for health groups there to contact though. Once you have some contacts, see what they can recommend in your area. The triangle has the majority of the states best universities and is a magnet for its resources. I would think that duke and its hospitals are the only reasons that NC fairs a little better than the rest of the south, similar to the way Austin fairs among the rest of Texas.

    Belasco32
  • Belasco32Belasco32 Registered User regular
    Iruka wrote: »
    Belasco32 wrote: »
    Iruka wrote: »
    My only advice is to expand your search to the entirety of the triangle if you haven't already. I haven't lived there since 2010, but when I was there the resources in the area were very much spread around the three cities.

    we're pretty far from there, well over 2hrs :(

    Yikes, sorry. I was thinking of Chapel Hill. Shows how long I've been out of the area.

    If the search continues to be rough, I would still look for health groups there to contact though. Once you have some contacts, see what they can recommend in your area. The triangle has the majority of the states best universities and is a magnet for its resources. I would think that duke and its hospitals are the only reasons that NC fairs a little better than the rest of the south, similar to the way Austin fairs among the rest of Texas.

    I mean, to be honest, I would absolutely drive 2hrs to have a decent doctor, so the suggestion wasn't a bad one!
    One of the issues I'm having in Charlotte is that there are two major health care groups that, from what I've been able to see, compete by seeing who can be more awful...okay, maybe that's not fair, I'm really frustrated. One of the groups is very, very into their PCPs not doing things when a specialist can - and man, I can be a serious cash cow for these people in that regard, but I really don't wanna need to scrap every cent of savings we have to budget seeing specialists regularly for stuff I've had a single doc handling for over a decade...aaaand there's the bit where I feel like using a patient that way is entirely unethical and all that.

    Bel looks like a badass bitch that's kept an unruly house in line through sheer force of will
  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    Have you contacted your old primary care physician? You'd be surprised who people know. They may have a recommendation for the area.

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Is the neurologist willing to DO for you on a temporary basis?

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    It's worth noting that NCs healthcare is rated low overall, despite having such a big med program and hospital in the capital, so it might take some digging and searching.

    When I was college age I got the majority of my care up in MD even though I spent my whole summers down in NC. Having access to john hopkins and the flood of doctors from there was better than the spotty care I found in Cary, which was littered with sports medicine masquerading as family practices.

    The area has grown economically which should hopefully attract good doctors. Its for sure frustrating and I'm sorry your search won't be easy. You might also look to Asheville. I'm less familiar with the city and its systems, but it's a great attractor of young people and there might be some good doctors who chose the chill out in the mountain city lifestyle.

    Casting a wide net and seeking out people in the area who share your health issues to talk to is probably the best you can do.

    Belasco32
  • Belasco32Belasco32 Registered User regular
    ceres wrote: »
    Is the neurologist willing to DO for you on a temporary basis?

    nah, she's a migraine specialist and that's all she does - I wish, though, she's a very cool person and super knowledgeable about all kinds of stuff

    There's some great advice in here so far, thank you all for giving me some new avenues to look! It's sooooo frustrating as a person with very limited energy to have to spend so much of it fighting to get the most basic healthcare stuff sorted...the "I'd like to have the medicine that means I don't die" level of basic.

    Bel looks like a badass bitch that's kept an unruly house in line through sheer force of will
  • Belasco32Belasco32 Registered User regular
    dispatch.o wrote: »
    Have you contacted your old primary care physician? You'd be surprised who people know. They may have a recommendation for the area.

    he doesn't, I tried that before moving here
    also, that's in the OP ;)

    Bel looks like a badass bitch that's kept an unruly house in line through sheer force of will
  • Belasco32Belasco32 Registered User regular
    Sooo, I have a few things that aren't fun to live with, but the one that needs the most medical attention is Fibromyalgia (FM) - I wish I could find an FM support group or gathering of people who have it where I could get resources, but it's not really possible...or maybe it's better to say I've tried that and I'm not willing to spend my limited energy wading through the mire again in the hope of finding one that might help.

    FM is a highly individualized illness, which is part of why it was widely incorrectly diagnosed for decades, part of why it's still possible to find people who think that FM is code for "psychosomatic", and part of why finding people who've been incorrectly diagnosed is nearly a daily frustration*. With a handful of exceptions, what works for one person has about a 50 % chance of working for another, high enough to try it, but not high enough to count on or to get one's hopes up. Also, and most unfortunately, most FM groups aren't places where one goes to get help or to work on "getting better" - they're crab-pots of sorrow and grief and largely focused on validating everyone's frustrations on why they'll never feel any better ever. So, ya know, they're like most of the internet ;)

    Apologies for the off topicness - I felt it needed saying since there are plenty of illnesses where the first line of "how to find a good doctor for X" is to go to a community of people who are dealing with X, FM just doesn't equal X in this case.

    *
    It's not at all uncommon to meet someone who was misdiagnosed at some point who thinks I'm lazy, lying, or both because they "have FM" and don't have any trouble going to school full time or working 2 jobs or getting to the gym 4 days a week or getting out of bed or etc. I have days where breathing and blinking can cause white flashes a pain and days where I can't think clearly enough to finish a single sentence...so, yeah, that can get old really quickly. Blarg. Moving on...!

    Bel looks like a badass bitch that's kept an unruly house in line through sheer force of will
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    edited January 2
    Belasco32 wrote: »
    dispatch.o wrote: »
    If you already have a diagnosis and need continued medication and treatment, any doctor will probably do so you can get refills.

    If it's a chronic illness that requires an infusion or opioid pain relief, you will probably have to brave the specialist referral gauntlet at least once.

    Unfortunately, it really isn't that easy or cut and dry. Just trying to get medicine for hypothyroidism has been difficult. I won't even start on what it's like trying to live with a chronic pain condition, because that's far too big of a mess to attempt here and I have that mostly handled: I have a pain management doctor, but he won't prescribe anything other than the one medication he feels is solidly in his wheelhouse even though there are 3 I've been on for years that help with the pain and mean I don't need stronger pain medications.

    Perhaps you could help his concerns by getting your old pain doctor to write him a letter about the 3 meds and why you are on them.

    When I said to contact a support group, I meant so that you could get the names of good doctors, not to find a cure or anything.

    CelestialBadger on
  • Belasco32Belasco32 Registered User regular
    Belasco32 wrote: »
    dispatch.o wrote: »
    If you already have a diagnosis and need continued medication and treatment, any doctor will probably do so you can get refills.

    If it's a chronic illness that requires an infusion or opioid pain relief, you will probably have to brave the specialist referral gauntlet at least once.

    Unfortunately, it really isn't that easy or cut and dry. Just trying to get medicine for hypothyroidism has been difficult. I won't even start on what it's like trying to live with a chronic pain condition, because that's far too big of a mess to attempt here and I have that mostly handled: I have a pain management doctor, but he won't prescribe anything other than the one medication he feels is solidly in his wheelhouse even though there are 3 I've been on for years that help with the pain and mean I don't need stronger pain medications.

    Perhaps you could help his concerns by getting your old pain doctor to write him a letter about the 3 meds and why you are on them.

    Neither my old pain doc nor my old primary care physician (PCP), like pretty much all doctors, will write letters of any kind because of legal issues and bylaws/rules for their individual practices. They pass along my medical records and that's what the new doctors have to make their judgments from. If the new doctor wants more information they have to reach out to the old doctor. Why I'm on specific medications is in my medical records, so are all of the tests, test results, hospitalizations, as well as the names and medical notes from the specialists I've seen who've given me my diagnoses. Before seeing a doctor, or during the first appointment, it's necessary to give the doctor's practice permission to see the patient's medical records.

    Bel looks like a badass bitch that's kept an unruly house in line through sheer force of will
  • disparaisdisparais Registered User new member
    Heya! A friend of mine sent me this way, because this is something I've also dealt with in this area. I lived outside of Charlotte in 2010, so this advice may have changed, but unfortunately Iruka's original advice about going to the Triangle is still correct. When I started looking into a diagnosis (2009, been in pain since 2006), they were relatively dismissive of me overall and weren't willing to discuss pain management, including non-medicinal pain management. I was largely treated like I was making it up for drugs.

    I ended up having to drive down to Duke every other week for the diagnositic hellhole that is fibromyalgia and got it from Duke in 2011. I worked and lived in the Charlotte area, so this was a massive pain in my ass, but it meant treatment and mitigation. There is a direct line between Charlotte and downtown Durham on the local Amtrak line, which can make the trip easier on you. Downtown is where you'd be sent for a specialist in Durham anyway. Feel free to reach out if you want more targeted advice or a NC friend who gets it.

    An-DIrukaBelasco32dispatch.oceresElvenshaeCelestialBadgerBouwsTJaysonFourShadowfirefurlion
  • Belasco32Belasco32 Registered User regular
    disparais wrote: »
    Heya! A friend of mine sent me this way, because this is something I've also dealt with in this area. I lived outside of Charlotte in 2010, so this advice may have changed, but unfortunately Iruka's original advice about going to the Triangle is still correct. When I started looking into a diagnosis (2009, been in pain since 2006), they were relatively dismissive of me overall and weren't willing to discuss pain management, including non-medicinal pain management. I was largely treated like I was making it up for drugs.

    I ended up having to drive down to Duke every other week for the diagnositic hellhole that is fibromyalgia and got it from Duke in 2011. I worked and lived in the Charlotte area, so this was a massive pain in my ass, but it meant treatment and mitigation. There is a direct line between Charlotte and downtown Durham on the local Amtrak line, which can make the trip easier on you. Downtown is where you'd be sent for a specialist in Durham anyway. Feel free to reach out if you want more targeted advice or a NC friend who gets it.

    omg,THANK YOU!!!

    Bel looks like a badass bitch that's kept an unruly house in line through sheer force of will
  • disparaisdisparais Registered User new member
    Anytime. :) It sucked to navigate alone, so you shouldn't have to. <3

    Belasco32BouwsT
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