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How To Find a Doctor or Healthcare Professional

How to find primary care doctors in your area:

  • Search databases: The American Medical Association's website "Physician Select" feature lets you search for licensed physicians in your area by name or specialty: http://www.ama-assn.org/iwcf/iwcfmgr206/aps?143994694
  • Ask colleagues and acquaintances to refer specialists they know and like.
  • If you become a member of an HMO, or health maintenance organization, you must choose a primary health care provider from within the HMO's network.

How to Make an Appointment:
In order to see a doctor in the U.S., you must normally first make an appointment. Primary care physicians, also known as a "family doctor," treat general problems and give regular checkups. If the family doctor finds a condition that may need to be examined further, he or she may refer you to a specialist (e.g. gastoenterologist, dermatologist, radiologist).

! If you are a member of an HMO, specialists require that you first be referred from your primary care doctor before they will see you.

! Health Insurance
Before you make your appointment, you will be asked to provide your health insurance number. If you do not have health insurance, there is a good chance you will be turned away if you cannot pay. There are many different types of health insurance plans available at different levels of cost and coverage. Click here to learn about the three basic types of plans.

How to Buy Medicine:

You can buy medicines at a drugstore ("pharmacy").

There are two general types of medications:

  • Prescription medications - only available with a doctor's prescription
  • Over-the-counter medication - Non-prescription drugs that can be purchased directly without a prescription. Includes aspirin and other pain killers, common cough and cold remedies, allergy medicine, eye drops

To purchase a prescription at a pharmacy, give the prescription (a piece of paper from your doctor describing the medication and how to take it) to the pharmacist. They will ask to see your insurance card, if you have one, then they will fill it for you. At many drugstores, the pharmacy is located in the back of the store.

! Some over-the-counter medications are now located at the pharmacy counter even though you do not need a prescription for them.

Find a Doctor?

Deal with Emergencies?

Make an Appointment?
Buy Medication?

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