I have been full timing for 6 months and now it is time to find a dentist and doctor. What do others do when you are moving from place to place. I have resorted to reviewing on-line and hoping for the best. Is there is better approach?
2008 Winnebago 33' Voyage
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If you are on social security... finding a 'walk in' doctor that's willing to see you isn't the easiest thing anymore. Women's care clinics or family clinics are more likely to let you call and make an appt. Sometimes you luck out and can walk in and be seen.
We were volunteering in California two years ago for the winter and then we'd go back for another winter project...six months each time in the same town so we moved our primary care to that small town's clinic. They closed the clinic without warning. The doors were closed and we had to hunt up our medical records. They had been put in storage in Ukiah. The state went broke and couldn't fund the clinic anymore. Lots of small clinics closed due to NO STATE FUNDS.
Now we're in the Longview, WA area and moved hubby's primary to Longview. Found a group of doc's that had a new doc coming on board who was accepting Medicare patients but not accepting self pay patients. That's right. NOT accepting self-pay patients. If you don't have some kind of insurance coverage and are going to pay out of pocket...you might find that the ER is your only choice.
I'm sorry. I'm not giving you any good choices.
As far as dental. We were not able to simply bring in our recent dental images and have them work from them. They wanted full x-rays taken in their office before they would work on us. It might be cheaper for you to travel back to your dentist every six months for dental checkups than try to get routine cleanings and such on the road. On an emergency basis, you will be seen but again, they will want to take full images before they work on your mouth.
It depends upon why you need to seek out a doctor. If you just need prescriptions refilled or blood work checked for prescriptions, we worked that out with our primary doctor before hand and just use a Quest Diagnostic for the blood work and the doctor in Florida renews the prescription after he receives the blood work results. If we actually need to see a doctor for an illness, we normally use an Urgent Care type facility, check first that they take your insurance.
We have found dentists and eye doctors to be a bit more difficult. As Louiskathy mentioned, our experience has been that they want a full set of x-rays done before they will even do a routine cleaning. We did have a lot of dental work done last year just into Mexico when we were in Yuma. We try to use a couple dentists in areas of the country that we return to more often, such as near my Mom's. Sometimes, we get our teeth cleaned a little early and sometimes a little later than I'd like.
Dave & Kathy
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I know with the VA you can request a copy of all your medical records at any time. They used to copy and send the paper copy to you but now most are set up to give you your records on a DVD which makes it much easier to handle and look thru and you can't lose that one piece of paper that you need for something. The DVD will fit in just about any small fire proof safe too.
I recently checked for walk-in clinics and called to make sure they take my insurance when I made the appt. Make sure you have a national plan and not an HMO. We always go back to our "home base" for our routine physicals, meds, blood work etc. as they know us best. Haven't had to find a dentist yet. I would check with the office at the park.
Lonny & Diane
2004 Country Coach Allure 33' "Big Blue"
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If you haven't already done so, figure out where the one place is that you are going to go to each year and establish a relationship with a physician. It may take a visit to 2 or 3 to find one that is willing to work with you as a fulltimer. We just kept our physician when we retired, and except for a couple of problems with his office staff, that has served us well. That is where you get your annual checkup done, have Rx written for the whole year (use mail order pharmacy) for maintenance drugs, and work out any lab work that needs to be done during the year as you travel.
Urgent Care Clinics are usually the place to go when you develop an infection, etc., while traveling.
As for dental, if you are near a metro area, goggle and see if there is a dental college in the area and if they have clinics. Even though the work is done by students, they are surpervised and that is one way to get lower cost for the care. Also, most people can go longer than 6 months between cleanings - - we've been conditioned for years that it must be more often so as to generate income for the practice. And once you have xrays done, get a copy (after all you paid for them) and carry them with you.
Barb & Dave O'Keeffe - full-timing since 2006 Traveling catpanion Shadow (age 16) Figment II (2002 Alpine 36 MDDS) Mischief (2004 Subaru Forester Toad) FMCA - F337834, SKP #90761 Our Blog
Usually we go to Medical Centers, only had to find an Urgent Care Center once, and that was for an asthma attack, and my meds wouldn't work, had to have a cortisone shot.
We have found that most hospitals have associated Clinics or Medical Centers. In Hot Springs AR went to the Mercy Clinic when we used to go there every year or so to volunteer at the national park. Did go to one doctor in Georgia who was a "payment up front", and did not accept insurance nor would he bill the insurance, whether medicare or private insurance. I just needed a new prescription, so wasn't that bad a deal. In Maine hubby went to a medical clinic for seniors.
We usually do a web search for local physicians or clinics, although one place in Florida only had one doctor and one dentist in town, who then would refer his patients to doctors or dentists in a nearby (45 min to a hour drive away) large college town. Sometimes we have asked the rv park staff, but most often we ask either a pharmacist or do our own web search if there is no clinic affiliated with a hospital.
As to dentists, on two separate occasions in two different parts of the country, each of us had to have a root canal done, went to a local dentist who referred each of us to endodontist (sp?). Otherwise we waited for our return to "base" for a dental exam, but even he does x-rays for the yearly exams.
We do each carry a spreadsheet with all our medical information on it. Has our name, soc sec #, family doctors name, address, etc., any specialists we have gone to recently, lists past tests, surgeries, current meds, vaccinations, and any past health problems which are petinent to our care. This enables the doctor and nurse to read over the sheet, talk to us about what our medical needs are and to have the needed information to make the diagnosis and to prescribe meds if necessary.
AND when we have to go to a new doctor or clinic we pack up all our medical precription bottles in a zip-loc plastic bag and take them with us, it is so hard to be prepared to answer questions regarding how many pills left, who prescribed them, and where we get our meds. In our case it is with CVS Caremark at their drug stores, unless there are none in the area, then it is Walgreens. Our insurance carrier decides where we can get meds and how much is our co-pay.
Sorry for this being long, but we have traveled across to Virginia several times, and have also been in the NorthEast, SouthEast, Midwest, Southwest, California, Oregon and Washington. Our home base is SE Washington State.
Full-Time RV'rs - Grandma, Grandpa, & Petunia, 8 yr old Chi
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