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    On the Move – How a Power House Patient Finds The Right Health Care Team After Relocating By Julie Buyon

    By agebuzz Contributing Editor Julie Buyon


    Moving to a new city can be exciting and daunting at the same time. Many seniors (about 1 in 5 Americans aged 55 plus, according to AARP) relocated in 2018 (although the number plummeted during the pandemic). Count me among them!  Like so many, I am relocating to be near family, have warmer weather, and a lower cost of living. A crucial factor for me, and many others, is access to excellent healthcare and finding the clinicians and medical centers that can provide it. It’s so important to find a doctor who understands your medical history, your lifestyle, and your personal goals, and who you feel can be a good partner in your care. Here are some tips on how to find the right doctor when you move to a new city.


    • Start looking well in advance of your move – it might take months to get an appointment!
    • Ask for recommendations. If you know people in your new hometown, ask if they have a doctor they trust and would recommend, and why. Ask your current doctor(s) for recommendations for doctors in your new location. They may have colleagues and/or medical centers in your new city that they recommend. Look for a doctor who is affiliated with a medical center with a great reputation.



    • Check what insurance is accepted. Make sure the doctor you choose is in-network with your insurance plan. Check with your insurance company or the doctor’s office to confirm this – can help find clinicians who accept Medicare. 


    • Ask some questions. Once you have gathered some names, give the office a call. suggests asking these questions about the new doctor:


    • Is the doctor taking new patients?
    • Is the doctor part of a group practice? If so, who are the other doctors that might help care for me?
    • Who will see me if my doctor isn’t available?
    • Which hospital does the doctor use?
    • Does the doctor have experience treating my medical conditions?
    • Does the doctor have special training or certifications?


    As well as some questions about the office:


    • Are evening or weekend appointments available? What about virtual appointments over the phone or on a computer (telemedicine)?
    • What is the cancellation policy?
    • How long will it take to get an appointment?
    • How long do appointments usually last?
    • Can I get lab work and x-rays done in the office?
    • Is there a doctor or nurse who speaks my preferred language?
    • Does the doctor see patients at multiple locations?  Is the office(s) easily accessible by public transportation or, if you’re driving, is it easy to park nearby?


    • Schedule a visit with the doctor. Once you have a list of potential doctors, schedule a visit with each one. This is a good opportunity to meet the doctor in person, ask questions, and see if you feel comfortable with them. You can also ask about their approach to treatment, how they communicate with patients, and their availability for emergency situations.


    • Trust your gut. You will be working closely with your doctor, and it is important to find someone with whom you feel comfortable and can partner with. Trust your instincts and choose a doctor whom you believe will be a good fit for you.


    Creating a new healthcare team when you move to a new area may take a while, but it’s worth the effort to assemble the team that feels right for you. Use the same approach for other healthcare providers who will be part of your team: dentists, ophthalmologists, other medical specialists, mental health providers, physical therapists, et al. Take your time, do your research, and trust your instincts when making your decision. Don’t hesitate to schedule visits with a few potential providers and see which one is the best fit for you – after all, this will be a partnership for years to come.



    Julie Buyon is a palliative care patient advocate. She has professional and personal expertise in assisting people with complex illnesses to navigate the healthcare environment. Julie’s role is to help patients feel empowered, and her agebuzz posts are intended to make sure agebuzz readers have all the tools and info they need to advocate for themselves and their loved ones. Julie would love agebuzz readers to email her at with any questions or problems encountered with the healthcare system, and she will do all she can to address those issues in upcoming blog posts. She also welcomes feedback regarding her advice or recommendations. Read all of Julie’s agebuzz posts here and get in touch with Julie now at