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How to Choose a Doctor

When you're feeling unwell or need a yearly check-up, you're likely to visit a primary care physician. He or she is your main health provider in non-emergency situations.

Your primary care physician can diagnose and treat common medical conditions or refer you to a specialist when needed.

Primary care providers may treat children, adults or both, depending on their training.

Specialty Patients
General Practice All Ages
Family Practice All Ages
Medicine / Internal Medicine Adults
Pediatrics Children and Adolescents

1. Find a Provider

To find a primary care provider:

  • Search our physician directory for General Practice, Family Practice or Medicine. If you are searching for a physician for a child or adolescent, choose Pediatrics.
  • Choose a primary care physician at one of our primary care practices.
  • Or, call HealthConnection at (716) 706-2112, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday - Friday.

To find a specialist:

2. Check if a Referral is Needed

You do not need a referral in order to visit a primary care provider, such as a physician who specializes in:

  • General Practice
  • Family Practice
  • Medicine
  • Pediatrics
  • Gynecology/Obstetrics

Depending on your insurance plan, you may need a referral before visiting other specialists. Please check with your insurance provider before scheduling an appointment with a specialist.

3. Verify Your Insurance Coverage

Before you visit a physician's office, verify that he or she accepts your insurance to minimize out-of-pocket costs. In most cases, you can determine coverage by looking at your insurance provider's physician directory:

If you do not have health insurance, click here to learn about New York State insurance programs and plans.

Financial assistance is also available to those who qualify.

4. Research Your Chosen Physicians

Before you schedule your appointment, call to see if the physician:

  • Accepts new patients
  • Accepts your insurance
  • Has convenient office hours
  • Has experience with your condition
  • Has privileges at your preferred hospital
  • Speaks in the language that you're most comfortable speaking
  • Offers routine appointments within a reasonable timeframe

You may also want to ask:

  • How long you might need to wait in the office before seeing the doctor
  • If you will have to pay for an appointment if you cancel
  • If the office sends reminders about prevention tests

Quality of Care

Once you narrow down your list of physicians, visit the following websites to learn about the quality of care that they provide:

  • Google.com – search the physician's name to find his or her website and comments from previous patients
  • HealthGrades.com – find ratings and reports
  • Vitals.com – find patient ratings, hospital affilitations, education background, and publications

5. Evaluate Your Visit

During your visit, take note of the following:

  • If you are seen on-time
  • If the physician listens to you
  • If you are encouraged to ask questions
  • If things are explained clearly
  • If you're treated with respect
  • If your health problems are addressed 
  • If the physician spends enough time with you

Remember that no two physicians are alike. It's important that your physician offer the convenience and expertise that you need and is someone with whom you feel comfortable.

More Information

PhoneCall our HealthConnection line at (716) 706-2112, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday - Friday
Email Email us

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Buffalo, NY 14203

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