Finding the Right Provider
It is important to check
with your HMO, PPO, or health insurance provider to determine what outpatient services are covered. Your particular
health plan coverage may limit your choice of services.
a quality outpatient center before you have a medical procedure is the best way
to make sure that you'll receive excellent care. Friends and family who have
used outpatient services may tell you about their personal experiences. Often
your doctor will know about the quality of outpatient services in your area.
You may want to start your search by talking with your doctor about your options.
Next, find out which outpatient services are covered by your insurance company.
The following questions may help you find the outpatient service center that
best fits your needs:
- Does the facility accept your health insurance,
HMO, or PPO coverage? Does your insurance cover any or all of the costs?
- Is the outpatient service center conveniently located
or within a reasonable distance of your home or work?
- Is more than
one facility in your area qualified to provide the service you
- Will the facility communicate well with your doctor and
provide the information you need in a timely manner? Can your doctor verify the
accuracy of any tests you had?
- Is the outpatient service center
accredited by a national medical board or other recognized agency? You can
find out by calling your state medical board or the Joint
Commission. For more information,
see the Quality of Outpatient Services section of this topic.
the facility clean, organized, comfortable, and private? You'll need to visit
the facility to find out. You may want to ask the facility or others
who have used the facility if the recovery room is well-staffed. Is there a
waiting room for your family?
- Is information readily available to
you? Will you receive instructions before, during, and after a procedure or
- Are brochures or literature available that explain the
outpatient center's services and fees? Does the facility provide information on
- Do you have other health conditions that
should be considered? Can the facility accommodate treating your other
conditions if needed? Does your doctor think there is a risk that you may need
specialized attention or emergency services during the
- Can you get all the care you need at the facility?
Will the center provide all the medicines or other treatment needed? Will you
have to go somewhere else for follow-up care?
- What kind of
experience does the staff have? How long has the outpatient service center been
operating? What are the specialties of the doctors providing the care? Are they
board-certified in their specialty areas?
You may have more questions based on your own health
issues and the type of procedure or test you need. Ask questions, listen
to the recommendation of your doctor and those you trust, and visit the
facility to get the information you need to make the best decision for
your health care.