Tips on Researching a New Doctor

First, check to see if your doctor is included in your health insurance coverage. You can contact your insurance company to find out. You can also ask the doctor which health insurance plans they take. 

Second, consider checking if the doctor has any disciplinary records.

When it comes to finding a doctor, people tend to trust the recommendations of friends or the reliability of their local practice. However, without looking into it yourself, it’s hard to know if your doctor has been disciplined for criminal convictions, medical negligence, wrongly prescribing controlled substances, or some other offense.

Many doctors continue to practice despite having disciplinary records, some even moving across state lines to do so.

Hospitals have access to a federal database of doctors’ disciplinary histories, but the public can’t access this database. Instead, a good place to state is your state medical board’s license lookup page. Some states allow the public to access full disciplinary histories for free, while others charge a fee or require users to file public records requests. ProPublica has compiled a chart detailing the processes for accessing these records in each state, which you can check out here.

If you are looking for a specific doctors’ disciplinary record, you can also search the Federation of State Medical Boards’ DocInfo, regardless of what state you live in. A resource for non-disciplinary license information is the Administrators in Medicine’s DocFinder, although only 17 states participate in this program.

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Monica Bryant