Q: I need to find a new doctor. Do you have any suggestions about how to go about this search other than asking friends about the doctors they use?

A: There are many reasons for someone to be looking for a new doctor. It could be because of dissatisfaction with the current doctor, the current doctor retiring or the patient moving to a new area. No matter the reason, finding the doctor who meets an individual’s particular needs is very important.

Finding a doctor takes time and effort. While asking friends and family for recommendations provides names to be considered, the search should go much further.

First, decide what you are looking for in a doctor. Do you prefer a male or female doctor? Would a group practice serve your needs better than an individual practice? Are time and distance important to you? How far from home do you want to travel for your appointments? Do you have transportation available to go that distance?

With that information, you can then ask friends and family about their doctors and see if any fit your needs.

After identifying several doctors, your next step is to research them. Today some of that research can be done by going online and some by talking with the doctor’s front office staff.

By talking with the front office staff, you are giving yourself the opportunity to determine how congenial they are. This is another important part of selecting a doctor, as you will be dealing with the staff frequently.

Several important questions that must be asked are: Is the doctor taking new patients? Does the doctor take the insurance you have? If you have Medicare, does the doctor take Medicare assignment? Is the doctor board certified? What days and hours is the doctor in the office?

Next you might want to inquire about the doctor’s qualifications and experience. Is he or she a specialist or a generalist? Also, does the doctor have a preference about how to contact him or her?

After you have done this search and have selected a doctor, set up an initial appointment. At this meeting you can determine how well the doctor listens, how well you can understand his or her explanations and directions and if he or she will answer questions.

Do not come with a laundry list of complaints. Instead, plan to discuss your three top concerns.

If all works out you will have found a new doctor who meets your personal requirements. If not, then you will need to research another name on your list of recommendations.

Q: With the cost of everything going up and my fixed income staying very fixed, I am always interested in senior discount offers. Do you know of a list that provides such offers?

A: Senior discounts have sprouted up all over the place. Some establishments provide a discount to senior shoppers on specific days of the week. Others, such as restaurants, might offer them at certain times of the day. Some discounts might even be seasonal.

You asked if I knew of a list of such offers. No, I don’t. So the best advice I can give is to ask. The answer may be no, but it could just as likely be yes. So don’t be shy; always ask.



July 15: “Emergencies Are Never Planned — Will You Be Ready?” seminar, 1:30-3 p.m. at Westlake Village Civic Center, 31200 E. Oak Crest Drive in Westlake Village.

July 19: History Comes Alive presentation “Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum,” 2 p.m. at Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks. Tickets are $5 and available at the Goebel Center.

July 22: Transit workshop, 12:30 p.m. at Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks. For reservations call 381-2744. Seating is limited.

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