How do I go about finding a female doctor in the US?

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MelissaG

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Ok, don't go thinking I'm nuts or anything please let me explain.

I moved to the US to be with my husband in 2008. We only had health care about a year before we both ended up with jobs that didn't have any. Since then, we've only gone when we needed, paid out of pocket when we could, and had to get help from a charity when I needed my hysterectomy because we didn't make enough money to pay for it on our own. Now, FINALLY, my husband is about to start a job with health care. The coverage is amazing and will only be about $500 a month including both of us. It covers 80% and up depending on what it is which is the best health care either of us has ever seen. It also starts on day one of his employment. We mean to take advantage of this.

The thing is, I have no idea how to go about looking for a female doctor in the US. I don't even know what they are called in the US. In Canada, I'd have called up a clinic and asked for a female General Practioner but I've never heard a general doctor called that here (is it a Family Doctor? Is it a Primary Care Physician? Are they the same thing?) that I could go to every year for regular checkups. And I need to get a mammogram done since it's been about 5 years and we haven't had the money, so where and who would I go to for that (my surgeon for my hysterectomy set me up for the first two that I had done but that was 5 years ago and I don't remember who it was)? I know we will get a list from the Insurance company for the "which doctors are in our network" stupidity but things are so convoluted here. In Canada, I'd just talk to my GP who would send me downstairs to imaging and then I'd come back up to her office to discuss my readout.

I feel so dumb asking all this like it's something I should know, and I'll be 46 in two weeks so I feel incredibly ignorant. My husband being a guy, he's never had to deal with the kind of stuff a woman does. He doesn't care if his doctor is a man or a woman (I do) and he doesn't know about things like mammograms. I guess I could ask my mother-in-law but you guys are quicker since I'm thinking about it now. Plus, I don't know why but I'd feel embarrassed to talk to my MIL about this even though she's been a nurse her whole life.

Can you educate me please? I'd really appreciate it. Thanks so much.
 
General practitioner or GP is the correct name, often also called family doctor.
A GP would referer you to a womans health clinic for the mammogram. I suppose a large clinic in a city could have a GP and mammo in the same building.

You could search for any clinics near you and see if they have female GPs that will fit your needs.
 
I only use female doctors if at all possible (unless you mean gynecologist which is a doctor that treats patients for female issues). I would look on my insurance's web site and go look at the provider list. Often they have pictures of the doctor, and some times the names will help you identify gender. If in doubt, call the doctor's office and ask if they have female providers.

If you live in or near one of the larger cities, you should not have a problem finding one close enough, as female doctors are becoming more common by the day, thank goodness.
 
Another tip -- Don't rule out a primary care physician (aka family doctor, general practitioner) who does not have a full MD degree. A nurse practitioner or physician's assistant can provide very good care too.

If you live in a rural area like I do, PAs and NPs providing primary care are far more common than MDs.
 
Another tip -- Don't rule out a primary care physician (aka family doctor, general practitioner) who does not have a full MD degree. A nurse practitioner or physician's assistant can provide very good care too.

If you live in a rural area like I do, PAs and NPs providing primary care are far more common than MDs.
Agreed. Our best family “Dr” yet was a female PA. The easiest way to find a female physician that accepts your insurance is to go to insurance website; create an account; Once logged onto website in your account; do a “search for physician”. You can choose primary care physician or specialist (whatever physician type you are searching for) then narrow the search by females, accepting new patients. Another option is to call the member information number on back of insurance card & have someone at insurance company do the search for you. They can then mail or email the results to you.
 
The easiest way to find an in-network doctor will probably be going to your plan's webpage, make an account and use the search feature. I'm pretty sure every health plan has something like this. I do this for every doctor I plan to visit because out-of-network bills are the WORST! You can usually filter by gender.

I suspect it's similar throughout the US, but usually, doctors, nurses, etc. are associated with hospitals now...it's really hard to find private practice. Generally, if a care-provider is a member of an in-network hospital, they will be in network...so you can do a search of providers in the hospital and reverse search those names in the above-mentioned online directory.

Also: make sure any laboratory (bloodwork, etc) you go to is also in network because if not the bill is NASTY! I'd also get familiar with which urgent cares to go to. Unfortunately, where I am...UC is pretty much where you have to go if you get sick and need a quick appointment...Dr. Offices are usually booked for months.
 
I have always just used in insurance company's "Provider" list...available online these days and searchable.

And if you find one and turns out you don't like them, then don't hesitate to find another. Nothing worse than having a doctor you don't like or aren't comfortable with.

I am very fortunate with mine. I was planning on changing 'cuz I didn't like the one I had when she quit the practice and I was giving the option of the next available doctor or picking out a new one. I was pretty busy at the time and said, "Yeah, that would be okay." Fantastic doctor, listens to me, addresses my concerns, doesn't make me feel stupid, doesn't try to tell me I don't know my own body, willing to work with me, very encouraging.
 
Thank you everyone, I appreciate it. It's so needlessly complicated here. Such a very odd way of doing medical care like having to go different places for testing. I'm used to doing everything in one place. I rarely ever needed a specialist in Canada since the GP even dealt with things like mammograms and other female things. The only time we needed someone different is if it was surgery or otherwise something incredibly specialized.
 
Melissa, good for you for doing the footwork to find a physician that you feel will be best for you! I am a strong proponent of clients (patients) being their own best medical care advocates.

For my short term stay in San Antonio to give my granddaughter a place to live for her Senior year of high school, I knew I would have to have medical care for that year, so I did this:

I looked on my insurance company's website for physicians in the area. I filtered it to women because I wanted a female (the first woman primary physician I have had, btw), then read all the reviews on each one who came up as covered by our insurance. I chose the one that seemed like the best fit. As a matter of fact, I like her so much that I go back to San Antonio at least once or twice a year for medical care.

I did the same when I needed a dermatologist. Then when I was ready to return to Illinois, I asked my dermatologist for a recommendation of anyone she may actually know (or went to school with, for example) in the QCA (near where I live) & chose the female dermatologist that she recommended. I am very happy with her as well.

I have kept my male primary physician in Illinois, because I chose him in the same way and he is very good. But I do wish my San Antonio doctor would move here. She is fabulous!

Just another thing I'd like to add as a retired RN, not all physician are equal and not all are necessarily a good fit for every possible client. If you choose one and are not pleased with her, you are absolutely entitled to choose another one. It is your right as a human being to receive the best possible care from the best doctor for your needs.
 
Ok, don't go thinking I'm nuts or anything please let me explain.

I moved to the US to be with my husband in 2008. We only had health care about a year before we both ended up with jobs that didn't have any. Since then, we've only gone when we needed, paid out of pocket when we could, and had to get help from a charity when I needed my hysterectomy because we didn't make enough money to pay for it on our own. Now, FINALLY, my husband is about to start a job with health care. The coverage is amazing and will only be about $500 a month including both of us. It covers 80% and up depending on what it is which is the best health care either of us has ever seen. It also starts on day one of his employment. We mean to take advantage of this.

The thing is, I have no idea how to go about looking for a female doctor in the US. I don't even know what they are called in the US. In Canada, I'd have called up a clinic and asked for a female General Practioner but I've never heard a general doctor called that here (is it a Family Doctor? Is it a Primary Care Physician? Are they the same thing?) that I could go to every year for regular checkups. And I need to get a mammogram done since it's been about 5 years and we haven't had the money, so where and who would I go to for that (my surgeon for my hysterectomy set me up for the first two that I had done but that was 5 years ago and I don't remember who it was)? I know we will get a list from the Insurance company for the "which doctors are in our network" stupidity but things are so convoluted here. In Canada, I'd just talk to my GP who would send me downstairs to imaging and then I'd come back up to her office to discuss my readout.

I feel so dumb asking all this like it's something I should know, and I'll be 46 in two weeks so I feel incredibly ignorant. My husband being a guy, he's never had to deal with the kind of stuff a woman does. He doesn't care if his doctor is a man or a woman (I do) and he doesn't know about things like mammograms. I guess I could ask my mother-in-law but you guys are quicker since I'm thinking about it now. Plus, I don't know why but I'd feel embarrassed to talk to my MIL about this even though she's been a nurse her whole life.

Can you educate me please? I'd really appreciate it. Thanks so much.

I can't imagine how much of a culture shock it was to leave Canada's health care system to one you need to pay for out of pocket. Our health care up here isn't the greatest with extremely long wait times, but at least it isn't a financial burden. General practitioners are very hard to come by but the Nurse Practitioners are great. I find they are very thorough (as nurses normally are).

I'm glad you are able to get caught up on your appointments now. Best of luck.
 
I can't imagine how much of a culture shock it was to leave Canada's health care system to one you need to pay for out of pocket. Our health care up here isn't the greatest with extremely long wait times, but at least it isn't a financial burden. General practitioners are very hard to come by but the Nurse Practitioners are great. I find they are very thorough (as nurses normally are).

I'm glad you are able to get caught up on your appointments now. Best of luck.
It was a HUGE shock. If I were in Alberta, my wait time for my hysterectomy would have been 82 days. In the US, I had to wait almost five months so don't let the US fool you. The wait time thing is a lie. It's no better in the US than it is in Canada. Most Canadians don't have any idea how good they have it.
 
Plus, I don't know why but I'd feel embarrassed to talk to my MIL about this even though she's been a nurse her whole life.
Oh for goodness sakes! Ask your MIL! I'm sure she'd love to advise. You have nothing to be embarrassed about and it may help your relationship by making her feel needed. She's here in the States, right?
 
Ok, don't go thinking I'm nuts or anything please let me explain.

I moved to the US to be with my husband in 2008. We only had health care about a year before we both ended up with jobs that didn't have any. Since then, we've only gone when we needed, paid out of pocket when we could, and had to get help from a charity when I needed my hysterectomy because we didn't make enough money to pay for it on our own. Now, FINALLY, my husband is about to start a job with health care. The coverage is amazing and will only be about $500 a month including both of us. It covers 80% and up depending on what it is which is the best health care either of us has ever seen. It also starts on day one of his employment. We mean to take advantage of this.

The thing is, I have no idea how to go about looking for a female doctor in the US. I don't even know what they are called in the US. In Canada, I'd have called up a clinic and asked for a female General Practioner but I've never heard a general doctor called that here (is it a Family Doctor? Is it a Primary Care Physician? Are they the same thing?) that I could go to every year for regular checkups. And I need to get a mammogram done since it's been about 5 years and we haven't had the money, so where and who would I go to for that (my surgeon for my hysterectomy set me up for the first two that I had done but that was 5 years ago and I don't remember who it was)? I know we will get a list from the Insurance company for the "which doctors are in our network" stupidity but things are so convoluted here. In Canada, I'd just talk to my GP who would send me downstairs to imaging and then I'd come back up to her office to discuss my readout.

I feel so dumb asking all this like it's something I should know, and I'll be 46 in two weeks so I feel incredibly ignorant. My husband being a guy, he's never had to deal with the kind of stuff a woman does. He doesn't care if his doctor is a man or a woman (I do) and he doesn't know about things like mammograms. I guess I could ask my mother-in-law but you guys are quicker since I'm thinking about it now. Plus, I don't know why but I'd feel embarrassed to talk to my MIL about this even though she's been a nurse her whole life.

Can you educate me please? I'd really appreciate it. Thanks so much.
I don’t think you should be ashamed of your ignorance. Unfortunately, many people are not aware of this. You should contact the health center first.
 
I don’t think you should be ashamed of your ignorance. Unfortunately, many people are not aware of this. You should contact the health center first.
Thank you. I found one. I just wish I knew why everything has to be so convoluted here. Like, why do I have to go to a different building for my mammogram, blood work, to get any updated shots and urine tests. They are ALL in different buildings? Why is the doctor only looking at the testing results? This is insanity.
 
Much of it depends on where you live, and the insurance you have.

Some areas of the US have fantastic health care, especially if you have good insurance that doesn't require referrals to specialists.

I will also add that it can depend on the relationships you have in the community, as well. I know of two different people whose surgeries were expedited based on their connections. Fair? No. Reality? yes.
 
Thank you. I found one. I just wish I knew why everything has to be so convoluted here. Like, why do I have to go to a different building for my mammogram, blood work, to get any updated shots and urine tests. They are ALL in different buildings? Why is the doctor only looking at the testing results? This is insanity.
Annoying, right? There really is a reason, but don't ask me how it makes sense to the consumer. I was very pleased when my dermatologist's office started doing the tests in the same building on the same floor and I no longer have to take the elevator to the ground floor and wait with dozens of others for testing. Now I can check in, get my labs done on the way to the office (or right after the visit) with no extra steps and no waiting at all. I much prefer that.

Some doctors offices do still have someone who comes into the exam room to draw blood, but I don't run into that as often as when I was younger.

My cardiologist in San Antonio did all the testing in the office or room adjacent to his office and exam rooms. No extra trips. That was nice because there was no waiting for reading the results either. If he needed consultation on a reading, he called in another doc right there in his practice. He did always send it out for further interpretation which went into my medical record, but knowing right up front what the tests were telling him and getting scheduled for surgery right there on the spot certainly reduced the stress that waiting causes.

PS, I am glad you found a doctor that you feel comfortable with and can trust.
 
Like, why do I have to go to a different building for my mammogram, blood work, to get any updated shots and urine tests. They are ALL in different buildings?
@MelissaG it might have something to do with the Stark Law. It is also known as the anti-kickback statute. There is a profit motive in some aspects of health care and the Stark Law is to prevent fraud or abuse. For example, a doctor should not refer patients to a CAT scan he/she has a financial interest in. It can get very complex, so if you want to go down the rabbit hole here is one link:
https://khourilaw.com/anti-kickback-statute/
 
@MelissaG it might have something to do with the Stark Law. It is also known as the anti-kickback statute. There is a profit motive in some aspects of health care and the Stark Law is to prevent fraud or abuse. For example, a doctor should not refer patients to a CAT scan he/she has a financial interest in. It can get very complex, so if you want to go down the rabbit hole here is one link:
https://khourilaw.com/anti-kickback-statute/
Interesting. I had no idea that existed. In Canada they just provide it all in the same building for convenience. But then again, it's government supported. Not that they won't accept private insurance, it's just rare and usually only covers dental, eye and drugs.
 
Wow, every time I read stories like this it makes me glad I live in Australia where all of this is covered by our medicare levy that is part of our taxation system. However our dental is not yet included because, you know, dental isn't really health care.......................
 
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