How to Find a Primary Care Doctor

Choosing the right primary care doctor for you can make a huge difference in the quality of your healthcare. The factors that matter most are different for everyone, but some you may want to consider include expertise, location, insurance accepted, wait time for appointments, and friendliness. Keep reading to see what you should look out for in a primary care doctor, specifically when you’re covered by Medicare.

What Is a Primary Care Physician?

The definition of a primary care physician—also known as a primary care doctor or a primary care provider—is a healthcare professional who is your first point of contact for most of your health needs. They are trained to address preventive care (like screenings and immunizations), chronic conditions (such as diabetes and high blood pressure), and any illnesses or injuries that may arise. If you need to see a specialist, your primary care doctor can refer you to the right person.

If you are an adult over age 65, and you’re covered by Medicare, it’s a good idea to look out for primary care doctors who specialize in Medicare patients. You can find a whole team of doctors at Oak Street Health who focus solely on healthcare for older adults.

Why Do I Need a Primary Care Physician Near Me?

Having a good relationship with a primary care doctor is one of the best things you can do to protect your health. That’s because a primary care doctor who takes the time to get to know you can offer personalized recommendations. They are also in a good position to notice potential health issues early on if they are seeing you on a regular basis.

Types of Primary Care Providers

A variety of healthcare providers can serve as primary care physicians. For older adults, these are some of your options:

  • Internist: An internal medicine doctor specializes in treating adult patients for a wide range of medical issues.
  • Geriatrician: A geriatric doctor focuses on care for older adults, typically age 65 and up. They are trained to treat many conditions, specifically those common among the elderly.
  • Adult-gerontology nurse practitioner: Nurse practitioners are highly trained and can also serve as a primary care provider. Specialists in adult gerontology focus on the care of older adults.
  • Family practitioner: Family medicine practitioners provide comprehensive care for all stages of life, from children to seniors.

If possible, visiting your primary care physician should be convenient. After all, this is someone you want to develop a relationship with over time and be able to see regularly—if their office is difficult for you to get to, you’re much less likely to book a needed appointment.

How Can I Find Medicare Doctors Near Me?

If you have Medicare, you’ll need to find a doctor who takes your insurance in order to get the benefits from it. Oak Street Health operates 10 senior primary care centers in Philadelphia, and all of our doctors and other providers are Medicare approved. Knowing that everyone you’ll see at our facilities accepts all forms of Medicare takes the guesswork out of whether you’re covered.

The information provided above will be used by Oak Street Health to contact you to schedule an appointment. Learn more about how Oak Street Health uses your information.

Questions to Ask When Choosing a Primary Care Physician

When you’re looking at your options for a primary care doctor, here are some questions to consider:

  • Is it convenient to get to the doctor’s office?
  • Is there a long wait time for appointments?
  • Is care offered during evenings and weekends if needed?
  • Does the doctor speak the language you feel most comfortable communicating in?
  • Does the doctor have experience working with people in your age group?
  • Do you have any conditions you’d like the doctor to have expertise in?

Finding a Local Primary Care Physician

If possible, visiting your primary care physician should be convenient. After all, this is someone you want to develop a relationship with over time and be able to see regularly—if their office is difficult for you to get to, you’re much less likely to book a needed appointment.

What Should I Look for in a Senior Primary Care Doctor Near Me?

Primary care doctors are busy people, but they shouldn’t be too busy to see you. If a primary care doctor is hard to book an appointment with or makes you feel rushed when you finally do manage to get an appointment, you may want to look elsewhere for a doctor. You’ll get the most benefit from someone who truly takes the time to get to know you, and who is available to see you without a long wait.

How Can I Find the Best Primary Care Physician Near Me?

To find a new senior primary care doctor, a good place to start is by asking your friends and family whether they have a doctor they like. Nothing beats a recommendation from someone you know and trust.

You can also search for reviews to see what kind of experiences other patients have had. For all of our Oak Street Health senior primary care centers in Philadelphia, you can read recent reviews.

Oak Street Health has 10 centers in the Philadelphia area that accept Medicare, including:

  • Aramingo
  • Cheltenham
  • Cobbs Creek
  • Fern Rock
  • Germantown
  • Parkside
  • Roosevelt
  • South Philly
  • Strawberry Mansion
  • University City

In addition to our Pennsylvania locations, Oak Street Health also has centers that accept Medicare in 17 other states.

When they talk to me, I listen…I love it here, I feel like family, they treat me with that kind of respect, you feel the love.

Mary Peacock

The First Appointment with a New Primary Care Doctor

No matter how much research you do, ultimately you’ll need to meet a healthcare provider to decide whether they are the right fit for you. When you visit for the first time, ask yourself:

  • Is everyone in the office friendly and professional?
  • Do I feel rushed?
  • Was everyone easy to talk to and help answer my questions and concerns?

If you feel comfortable after that first appointment, congratulations! You’ve just found your new primary care doctor.