Best Doctors 2010: How To Seek a Referral

Whether you’re uncomfortable with information you’ve been given, need more info than your doctor can provide or just want a second opinion, Dr. Deborah Lonzer, chair of the department of regional pediatrics at the Cleveland Clinic, has advice to get you in a specialist’s door.

Have a primary care physician you trust and ask for an opinion. “If you trust the person you see regularly, it makes sense to use someone they’ve developed a relationship and comfort with,” Lonzer says. You don’t have to use that person, but communication is often quicker if you do.

Don’t be afraid to ask. “Physicians don’t or shouldn’t be offended by a request like that because the patient comes first.” Just be polite.

Know your insurance. Sometimes you don’t need a referral, so a basic understanding of your plan can save you and your doctor time.

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