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4 Tips For Finding a Good Provider

It goes without saying that one of the most important aspects of a person dealing with a disease like lupus, is the support system around them. A good support system is made up of different types of units – family, caregivers, friends, and even providers. I would say that each of these units plays an important role in the life of a person living with lupus. As a caregiver, one of the roles we find ourselves playing sometimes is as an advocate to our loved-ones with lupus. This advocacy role may come into play when it is time to find a good provider.

Who treats lupus?

Finding a good provider is vital to a person living with lupus. First, there is typically more than just one provider that you are working with. You may have your primary care provider, a rheumatologist, maybe a nephrologist, or a cardiologist. Depending on the particular situation that my mom is facing will determine the type of provider that she needs. As a caregiver, I have become aware of how important the potential crossover between providers can be. The rheumatologist will need to know what the cardiologist is doing; the primary care provider will need to be aware of the orders of the nephrologist. Any provider that is involved in this process needs to be selected appropriately.

How can I find a lupus provider?

There are 4 key steps that should be taken to finding a provider.

  1. Leverage your network! Ask people who may be dealing with the same things that you are, and may have experience in navigating the system. You should ask friends, family, and people you trust in order to begin identifying a provider (either physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant) who is qualified. It is important to remember that everyone has unique needs. So, the provider who may be perfect for one person, may not be perfect for you. But it is definitely a great start to find a provider who has been indirectly vetted by people you trust.
  2. Consider your convenience. Location and proximity to your home or workplace are key. One of the worst things that you could experience is being in a position where you need to visit your provider quickly, but they are not easily accessible. It may seem trivial, but this is an important factor. The more conveniently located your provider, the more inclined you may be to keep appointments (for preventive measures) and make appointments when necessary.
  3. Consider the cost.A major barrier to health care can be the cost In the United States, if you have medical insurance, this can sometimes help subsidize your medical expenses. However, merely having medical coverage is not always sufficient. The type of medical insurance that you have can also play a role in the provider that you choose. As an example, if you have an HMO, the network of providers that you have access to might be more limited. You want to be sure that the services that you would require are also covered by your insurance.
  4. Choose a high-quality provider.Let’s say that you have narrowed your provider choices based on the aforementioned criteria. They have been vetted/approved by your network, they are conveniently located to you, and they are covered by your health insurance plan. The last thing that you would want to do is to ensure that they are a high-quality provider. Sure, this is a bit more of a subjective criterion (unless you are like me and likes to find data about the provider) but it is necessary. Is the provider board-certified? Have you found reviews on the provider? How are the provider’s quality scores as it relates to treating higher-risk patients? These are important factors because the quality of the care provided to you will have a profound impact on your attitude and prognosis.

While there are a number of other things that can be considered when searching for a provider, following these 4 steps will help you narrow your provider selections.

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