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Choosing Your Next Primary Care Physician

Choosing Your Next Primary Care Physician

If finding doctor care from a new PCP is the best option for you, these tips will help you to choose the right fit for your MS care team. Read on to learn how to research providers within your network and select a PCP that meets your specific medical needs.

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Finding doctor care from a primary care physician (PCP) you trust and feel supported by isn’t an overnight process, especially when you’re living with a chronic health condition such as multiple sclerosis (MS). But when your long-time PCP retires or leaves your medical insurance network, you have no choice but to find a new primary care doctor or change health plans altogether. Changing health insurance plans, however, isn’t always an option outside of the open enrollment or special enrollment periods.

If finding a new PCP is the best option for you, these tips from Safeway Medical Supply will help you to choose the right fit for your MS care team. Read on to learn how to research providers within your network and select a PCP that meets your specific medical needs.

Start by Organizing Your Medical Records

As someone with MS, you’ve likely undergone numerous diagnostic tests and examinations over the years — and the thought of relaying this information to a new PCP may seem daunting. However, transferring your medical records to a new provider is easier than it sounds.

As one option, you can request to have your medical records transferred to your new doctor. Alternatively, you could manually compile your health history into several shareable documents. PDF splitter tools and apps allow you to separate lengthy medical records into multiple documents that can be resaved as PDFs and shared with your new doctor — using this free tool is a great way to easily split PDF files. This option is especially useful if you’re seeing providers outside of your regular healthcare system.

Choose Your New Primary Care Doctor

Patients with MS rely on the help of multiple team members, and your primary care doctor is just one of them. However, this doesn’t make the role of your PCP any less important. Your new PCP will be responsible for helping you to treat illnesses and conditions that are not related to your chronic illness and staying on top of your health to prevent other diseases and medical conditions from developing. Your primary care doctor can also help you to select other MS specialists, such as neurologists and physical therapists, depending on your specific medical needs.

To select the right primary care doctor for you, find out which PCPs in your area are covered under your insurance policy. There are several types of PCPs to consider when searching for a doctor, and it may be helpful to ask your friends, family, and other local MS patients for recommendations. Before making a decision, it’s also important to consider the doctor’s location, office hours, special interest areas, hospital affiliations, background, and online reviews.

Find a Health Plan That Enables You to Lead a Healthier Lifestyle

Although certain types of medications can help those with MS to manage the wide range of symptoms they experience each day, alternative treatments can also be helpful. These alternative treatments for MS range from acupuncture and holistic medicine to medical marijuana and diets such as the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) and alkaline diet. Making several modifications to one’s daily routine and diet — like drinking more water, keeping stress levels in check, and exercising regularly — can also help MS patients to lead healthier lives.

With that being said, not all health insurance plans support alternative or integrative medical approaches such as Chinese medicine, acupuncture, and nutrition therapy. Those wishing to incorporate alternative approaches into their MS treatment plan may prefer to change health insurance plans altogether, as this may provide them with access to more “in-network” providers and better coverage or reimbursement for alternative treatments.

A few places to compare plans and purchase health insurance coverage include:

  • The Health Insurance Marketplace (
  • Professional organizations for self-employed workers and freelancers, such as the Freelancers Union.
  • Medicaid (depending on your state’s income and application requirements).

In Conclusion

Whether you decide to purchase a new medical insurance policy that better fits your health needs and lifestyle or organize your medical records using PDFs to help keep your medical information easily accessible, the important thing is that you feel supported by your MS care team. Keep searching for a provider until you’ve found one you trust, as the PCP you choose will play a vital role in helping you to stay on top of your health through the years.

Safeway Medical Supply offers an array of excellent products, from wheelchairs and walking aids to oxygen and sleep machinery.


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