Your Right to Request a Referral to a Specialist - Mantachie Rural Health Care, Inc.
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Your Right to Request a Referral to a Specialist

Your Right to Request a Referral to a Specialist

Our doctor and nurse practitioners are family care providers. That means they have experience and are highly educated in a wide range of medical conditions. Most of our patients find that experience and knowledge to be exactly what they need in a time of illness. For some patients with chronic illness or advanced illness, we need to refer them to a specialist. But your health isn’t just in our hands. You can (and should) take an active role in your health. If you think it’s time to see a specialist, ask us for a referral.

When to Ask for a Referral

Some illnesses are easy to diagnose on the first visit. A very sore throat with a fever can be diagnosed and treated as strep throat with a quick test. Other illnesses aren’t that clear. Many diseases and chronic illnesses have similar symptoms. Our providers listen to your symptoms, ask questions, and order tests in an effort to single out the cause of your illness. That means some problems may take more than one visit to get a diagnosis. 

If you’ve visited with your provider more than three times for the same issue and still don’t feel like you’re getting any closer to finding answers, it’s time to talk to your doctor about a specialist referral. Your primary care provider is a partner in your health. We want to see you feel better. Sometimes a doctor with specialised care in a specific area can provide new insight.

What to do Before Requesting a Referral

Before you ask your doctor for a referral, check with your insurance. Most insurance companies have a list of specialists they prefer. You’ll also want to know if seeing that specialist requires a referral. You can check out the potential providers and have an idea of who you’d like to request before your visit.

How to Request a Referral

It can feel awkward asking your doctor to refer you to someone else. Don’t let that stand in the way of better health for you. Your provider wants the best for your health. As a primary care provider they will continue to be involved in your health decisions even if you seek care from a specialist. 

During your visit with your provider, ask if they think it’s time for you to see a specialist or let your doctor know you’re ready to see a specialist. Ask for your doctor’s recommendation of who to see and why that’s their preferred referral. They may have insight into your health history and the specialist’s knowledge that an internet search or your Aunt Clara’s recommendation doesn’t have. If you do not want to see the specialist your doctor recommends, let them know who is covered by your insurance and who you would like to see.

Sometimes a physician to physician referral can result in a faster appointment time. This is not always the case, but it can be a benefit of having your doctor put in the call. Also, if your provider makes the referral, they will know the protocol to ensure your medical records are shared with the specialist. 

Before Your Specialist Appointment

Double-check with your primary care provider’s office to ensure they sent your medical records to the specialist’s office. Also, make sure the new doctor is still covered by your insurance. Make sure you have a list of medications to take with you to the new appointment and check online to fill out any forms ahead of time.

After Your Specialist Appointment

Your primary care provider is still available for all your health needs, even if you’re seeing a specialist for a specific issue. Your doctor should have records of your visits with the specialist so they can make notes in your chart. If you’re seeing a gastroenterologist for a stomach problem, your primary care physician will still be your go-to for acute care illnesses like sinus infections or other chronic diseases like high blood pressure.

Remember, we’re a partner in your health journey, but your true responsibility for your health remains with you. Being open and honest with your provider not only about your health, but about your desire to see a specialist may save time and help you find a diagnosis faster.

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