How to Select a Primary Care Physician


Regardless of which health plan you choose, ultimately the value of your health plan is determined by who delivers the care and administration of your medical benefits.

As with health plans, you should research and ask questions about the healthcare provider you're considering. Recommendations from family or friends are a good place to start, but for objective fact-based information you'll want an un-biased source.

Independent, third-party organizations such as Integrated Healthcare Association (IHA), California Cooperative Healthcare Reporting Initiative (CCHRI), and the Office of the Patient Advocate (OPA) of California, among others, routinely survey patients, publishing service and quality of care ratings on physicians and physician groups. Visit their websites to investigate the scores and grades given to the physicians being offered in conjunction with your health plan choices. Besides high ratings from independent sources, you'll want to maximize your benefits by researching what the healthcare provider offers in the way of added services and practices.

Access to Care:

  • Same day appointment availability
  • Access to Urgent Care Centers with no pre-authorization
  • Flexibility to be seen near work or home
  • Registered Nurse advice telephone line 24 hours a day
  • Convenience of onsite lab and x-ray

Up-to-Date Technology and Practices:

  • An Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system
  • On line (email) communication with physicians and the office
  • Electronic transmission of prescriptions to pharmacies
  • Specialty nurses to assist and follow your care whether you're in the hospital or dealing with an injury/illness at home?

Mark Schafer, MD, Chief Executive Officer for MemorialCare Medical Group explains, "Selecting a medical group such as ours gives patients those value added services providing convenience and flexibility. Now, factor in experience and the performance validations from those third party organizations and its easy to see why the value of your health plan is enhanced dramatically when you choose a medical provider who can offer more than just a private office."

Not all health plans are created equal and neither are medical providers. The actual value of your medical benefits may very well depend on the quality of care you receive and how your physician coordinates your care within the parameters of your chosen plan.