Many pregnant women are unaware that a pediatrician will come to the hospital when she delivers to perform a check-up on her new baby. This is why finding a pediatrician before the birth is very important. For first time moms, or moms who are new to Morris County, the search for a new pediatrician can seem overwhelming.
Who can provide a good referral? Is there an opportunity to meet the pediatrician face to face before an actual visit? Does every pediatrician accept every insurance plan? Is the pediatrician available to provide care, even in the middle of the night? How does the pediatrician feel about key issues like immunizations? Here are some suggestions on how to identify the right pediatrician in Morris County.
Ask a friend, neighbor or coworker
A referral from a friend, neighbor, coworker or even an OBGYN is probably the best way to find a good pediatrician. Knowing that someone else has had a good experience is very reassuring. Brand new to Morris County? Try listening in to other moms chatting at story hour at Barnes & Noble (it’s free and a great place to meet other moms so check the schedule of your closest store), or in the pick up line at school. Don’t be afraid to ask other local moms who they see for their children, and then start a list of possible doctors. Then do some homework. Kid’s Health by Nemours recommends saving all research in case something changes, and a new doctor is needed, or the search takes longer than anticipated.
Plan to check out the pediatrician’s open house
CBS New’s website interviewed Tricia O’Brien, Features Editor of American Baby Magazine who suggests finding a pediatrician while pregnant. O’Brien explains that the best time is “between 28 and 34 weeks” in case the process is more involved than originally expected. Many pediatricians’ offices offer an open house for expecting parents so that they have the opportunity to get an impression of the practice and to ask questions. Call each pediatrician’s office to see when their open house takes place and go to several to compare if necessary. Often just getting a vibe from the doctors on staff will aid in a decision as to whether or not the fit is right.
Pediatricians and insurance plans
Moms will want to make sure that the insurance plan providing coverage to her family is accepted by a prospective pediatrician. Most pediatrician’s offices will ask for insurance information in the first interaction with a prospective patient. For most families, the choice of a pediatrician is going to be limited to those who are covered by their existing insurance plan. A list of participating providers may be available on the insurance company’s website, so check this resource out.
How available is the pediatrician?
Many pediatricians’ offices offer 24 hour nurse line, which can be a lifesaver, especially for new moms. Many first timers find themselves panic stricken in the middle of the night with a newborn who won’t stop crying. If the pediatrician does not offer a 24-hour phone service, does the practice have an on call doctor or emergency number? It is also important to find out if the pediatrician has evening or weekend hours, which are convenient for working moms or for children who participate in after school activities. Ask if sick children are seen same day. Knowing how available a pediatrician will be is key.
Does the pediatrician share key views?
Many parents have their own philosophy on immunizing their children, especially their infants. Ask what the immunization philosophy of the pediatrician is. O’Brien suggests comparing views on issues such as breastfeeding, and circumcision in addition to vaccines. “A doctor that disagrees with you on key issues – or is unwilling to compromise – may not be the best choice.” Make a list of issues that are important and see how the pediatrician’s views compare. These issues may be openly shared at an open house without even having to ask.