Tips for finding a primary care provider when it seems none are available
It’s important to have a primary care provider to be a trusted partner who knows your medical history and is ready to help when anything comes your way. But it can often be really hard to find one.
The Association of American Medical Colleges reports we’re facing a nationwide shortage of primary care providers, and that shortage is expected to worsen as demand increases and many providers are retiring or leaving the profession because of burnout. So, how can you find a primary care provider in the middle of unprecedented shortages? Here are some suggestions to help.
Expand the types of providers you’re including in your search
There are several different provider types that can act as a primary care provider, including some you may not have considered, such as:
- Family medicine
- Internal medicine
- Adult medicine
- General practice
- Preventive medicine
Also keep in mind a physician assistant, nurse practitioner, or advanced registered nurse practitioner can act as a primary care provider if they work under the license of a medical doctor.
To find an in-network provider by specialty, sign in at regence.com and use the Find a Doctor tool to search for the specialty you want, like “internal medicine” or “pediatrics.” Once you’ve found in-network providers in your area, call them to make sure they’re accepting patients and will meet your needs.
Get help from Regence customer service
Our award-winning customer service team is happy to help in your search. In some cases, they can even call various in-network providers on your behalf to confirm availability. You can contact customer service by calling the phone number on the back of your member card, using the chat feature while logged into your account at regence.com or by using the Regence app.
Start right away
It can take a while to find a provider. It might require multiple phone calls and you’ll probably have a few setbacks. You might also have to wait a few months before you can get in for your first appointment. Start your search right away instead of waiting until you’re sick.
Once you have a primary care provider, use them or lose them.
With demand so high, some providers have been pushed to remove patients they haven’t seen for a few years from their roster to make room for new patients. Be sure to see your provider at least annually for a checkup so you can keep your spot. An annual wellness visit is a good idea anyway and is covered by most Regence plans with no out-of-pocket cost.
Get more tips on finding a primary care provider on regence.com.