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Doing Your Homework, Researching A New Doctor

Many, many individuals have found that as a result of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, they now have to switch to a new doctor or health care professional because their old doctor will no longer accept their insurance. With that being the case, a few suggestions about how to find a new doctor could be just the preventative medicine you need.

How do to choose a new doctor?

When it comes to finding a new doctor, many people simply ask their friends, neighbors and co-workers for a recommendation, or simply look-up which doctors are available through their insurance provider. That’s usually the extent of it for most individuals. Schedule an appointment, and go see the doctor at the prescribed time.

But with the average number of medical malpractice suits each year being somewhere around 85,000, it seems necessarily prudent to do some background investigation on any and all prospective new doctors, dentists and other healthcare providers. Do you really want to receive a diagnosis from a doctor who has been sued for malpractice? The answer is most likely “of course not.”

Making an Informed Decision – Doing Research

1. Is the Doctor Licensed and Certified in Illinois?

A great first step to researching any doctor is to conduct a background check on his or her alleged licensures and certifications. All physicians licensed in Illinois must be registered with the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation. These doctors’ credentials are available for searching online by using the Physician Profile Search tool. These profiles include details about the doctor’s license information, including his or her license status, Illinois license number, date of issue, date of expiration and years of practice in the state. The profiles also include information about any disciplinary history or legal actions against the doctor, including malpractice judgments and settlements, any felony criminal convictions or class A misdemeanors, as well as any history of disciplinary action in any state.

2. Check other Online Tools
There are many online tools available to consumers that enable them to research doctors and medical specialists. For example, healthgrades.com allows users to find a doctor or specialist within a certain geographical area and further narrow search results by whether the doctor has positive patient recommendations, which insurance providers cover a particular doctor, the gender of the doctor, or whether the doctor has no history of sanction, malpractice or board actions.

Medicare.gov also provides an online Physician Comparison website tool run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The Physician Comparison tool is a byproduct of the Affordable Care Act of 2010, and is limited to only group practices that are enrolled in the Medicare Program at this time. However, the ability to compare specific doctors and health care providers will be built into the websites functionality in the future. This site does not provide information on sanctions, malpractice or board actions involving the searchable group practices.

Court records are always an option too. Searching through the court systems for malpractice cases against a particular doctor may be a bit tricky since you may not know every county that the doctor has ever practiced in, or been sued in. However, sometimes a quick Google search of the doctor’s full name, in conjunction with “malpractice lawsuit” can point you in the right direction for further investigation.

Contact a Chicago Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured through medical malpractice, an experienced medical malpractice attorney can identify the cause, and can fight to get you what you need. Please contact us today to learn more.

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Scary Statistics on Medical Malpractice