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"Want advice on how to find a good doctor"
You are right to be cautious. I tried Ratemds.com to find a dentist. The one I picked only had 2 reviews, but both were 5 star (the best) ratings. I scheduled a check-up appointment for myself and my 18 year old daughter. The office was in a great area and seemed very well equipped. After taking 18 X-Rays for each of us we were informed we have serious problems. I had 2 cavities and 2 cracked fillings. My daughter, who has never had a cavity (and had a check-up 6 months ago) was told she had 12 cavities, 4 of which “could” require root canals. After getting a second opinion from our former dentist (who is not in our current plan), it turns out I needed no work; my daughter had 3 cavities, none of which was even close to requiring a root canal. The dentist from RateMDs would have done unnecessary work for the money! I’m now convinced this dentist had people write bogus reviews to lure new patients in. Don’t trust these websites – go to friends to get referrals, or ask the dentist you trust if he knows someone in your plan.
I have had good luck with Angieslist.com. This site rates everything from Plumbers to Doctors to Pet Groomers to Auto Mechanics. They have 250 different categories. The only hitch is that there is a $10.00 activation fee and a $4.50 per month charge. If you need to find a lot of different services in your area it is worth it. Also, if you sign up for a longer time you get a discount. This site is best for someone who relocates to a new area and has to find a lot of resources. I moved from Houston to Austin Texas and it worked for me. You can cancel after you put together your list of contacts.
Get a reference from a former doctor you trust. When I went from United Health Care to Aetna I learned my doctor’s office would not take Aetna. I was upset that I had to leave my doctor, but I asked if she would refer me to another doctor in our area that took Aetna. She was very understanding and referred me to 3 doctors. I followed her advice and am happy with the choice. I have recommended patients to both my current and past doctors and everyone has been very pleased with the care they receive.
Make sure any doctor you go to will take Medicare or you could end up switching again. If you go to http://www.ihealthpilot.org/research/lookup.shtml you can check your doctor through your state medical board. They give information on what plans they take including whether they participate in Medicare. They also tell if there was any disciplinary action against them. The site has other helpful links for other concerns.
Some doctors are forcing patients to sign documents that forbid them from posting negative reviews. This would send up a big red flag to me. Why would they do this unless they had something to hide? Run, don't walk away! I doubt it these so-called written agreements would stand up in court anyway.
If you are asked to sign a waiver report that doctor on every on-line medical rating site you can find. Those who are identified as demanding these “gag orders” will have a hard time attracting new patients, probably the best way of stopping this practice. I also like the idea of checking doctors through their state medical boards.
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I am looking for a good website that rates doctors and dentists. I have recently changed insurance providers and the new company does not include some of my doctors. It is upsetting in that I really like and trust my current doctors and am worried about making a bad decision.