Thursday, December 25, 2014

How to Obtain a Second Medical Opinion?

Obtaining a second medical opinion is very important, specially when the medical problem that a person is dealing with is complicated, chronic or needs aggressive and expensive medical care. The primary care provider and the specialist who sees you or your relative may be very good, but ultimately, the body belongs to you and not only you must be seeking  care, but also making sure it is good care.

Here are some steps that may be followed:

1. If you are thinking about obtaining a second medical opinion, you must make up your mind first. If the last medical visit was left with more questions than answers, or you need reassurance, it is always a good habit to give the physician who saw you a call in order to clarify things. Keep in mind that time is not a luxury of doctors these days, so they might just need more time to talk to you. If after talking to the doctor again, questions remain unanswered, then, there is a good case to look for a second opinion.

2. Once the decision is made, you should contact your insurance company in order to see if second medical opinions are covered by your plan and in case they are, to see what physicians can provide it. 

3. When the options are provided, the physicians’ credentials must be verified. You can look into the specific Specialty Board’s website to check the physician’s background and experience.

4. If the choices do not satisfy you, there can be other physicians available. Look into medical schools, hospitals and friends and family recommendations. Do a thorough internet search and verify credentials. Be prepared to pay out of pocket money in these cases.

5. Once the second opinion is obtained, request a written report. This is important because it will give you a document to refer to and will help you when going back to your original physicians. It can contain valuable information and it can help you and your doctor in the developing of the plan of care.

Although requesting a second medical opinion is a right, some physicians may be offended by the fact that you are doing it. Reassure your physician by saying that this is meant for you to be further educated about your condition and its treatment options.

Marco A. Ramos MD

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