Welcome, new patients!
There are a lot of reasons to choose RiverBend Medical Group, whether you're new to the area, have just taken up a new insurance plan at work, or are seeking the area's most complete group practice services. The links on the right provide you with important documentation that new patients will need. In addition to our many specialists, RiverBend provides you the most choices for a Primary Care Physician (PCP) of any practice in the area. Richard Shuman, MD, our Medical Director, has written a helpful article to make your choice easier.
How To Choose a PCP
Richard Shuman M.D.
Medical Director, RiverBend Medical Group
A couple of weeks ago I was seeing a new patient, she was a very pleasant 38 year old female. I asked her how she had heard about my practice and why she picked me as her primary care physician. She said that she had heard about my group through the newspaper and that she chose me because my first name was Richard, which was her husband's name. I smiled and told her that I thought this was an excellent way to choose a doctor and we proceeded with our visit. It was soon after that visit that I decided I would create a newsletter, which could help my family, and friends pick a doctor. The information included below is the advice, which I gave to my friends and family.
Choosing a physician is a very difficult undertaking and there is no simple plan to make the "right" decision. Most people base their decision on "word of mouth" from friends and family. This is a reasonable way to choose a doctor but I think several other things should be considered prior to making a decision, which could seriously impact the most important person in your life...you.
What follows is a list of questions with brief explanations, which I hope can help guide you to the "best" decision for you. None of these questions in and of itself should be the basis for your decision but you should look at them as a whole and determine which questions are important to you.
- Is your doctor board certified or board eligible? Most physicians have completed a rigorous period of testing over the years and extensive training to become board certified, but not all of them.
- If they are board certified before 1990 do they intend to re-certify? Only physicians who have completed board certification after 1990 are required to recertify every 10 years. Older physicians do not have to recertify. If one of these physicians has voluntarily decided to recertify, I think it says a great deal about their commitment to staying up to date and their dedication to providing quality medical care.
- Which hospitals does your physician admit to? This is a question that most people ask but they often don't ask if their doctor has a preference to admit to one hospital versus another. The physician may say he/she admits to several hospitals but in reality directs most of their admissions to one hospital. This is something you would want to know prior to choosing your doctor.
- Which specialists does your doctor use? Most people think that if a specialist is listed in their insurance directory than they can be referred to them. Technically this is true but, in general, your physician will have a circle of specialists he or she refers to. In fact, some of those physicians may be in their own group. You should be aware of who these specialists are especially if you have a preexisting illness.
- What happens if I am sick in the evening or on the weekend? It is important to understand how you will access care during evenings and weekends. If you are sick you want to be seen by someone who knows you or at least has access to information about you. When you call RiverBend Medical Group after normal office hours, an on-site triage nurse will assist you daily from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. After 9:00 p.m., our answering service can page the doctor if necessary. For pediatric issues, we provide an after-hours advice nurse service starting at 5:00 p.m. and continuing through the night.
- Does your physician listen to you? Studies have shown that the average time it takes a physician to interrupt a patient after asking their first question is 21 seconds. Next time you visit your doctor check for yourself. Listening and caring are difficult to quantify. This is clearly a personal decision on your part. However, if you don't feel comfortable, please change doctors. This is a very important decision.
- Is my Doctor a good doctor? I am not asking you to present this question to your physician, but the true answer is very important. Any physician can be a good doctor when things are going well, the real test is how they react when you are ill. If you have the opportunity, ask others who have seen your doctor, how the treatment went. Also, take it as a very good sign if you walk up to the front desk and the receptionist says, "you are seeing Dr. ______, he is such a wonderful doctor". Riverbend Medical Group's website has customer comments associated with each practice site. Check out what other people have to say about our group.
Choosing a physician is a very important decision. Take your time and ask questions.
Call to schedule an appointment!
Chicopee- Main # (413) 594-3111
Pediatrics: (413) 598-7040, OB/GYN: (413) 598-7042, Adult Medicine: (413) 598-7090, Specialties: (413) 598-7036
Springfield - Main # (413) 733-4101
Pediatrics: (413) 796-6031, OB/GYN: (413) 796-6032, Adult Medicine: (413) 796-6884
Agawam - Main # (413) 789-6800
Westfield - Main # (413) 533-2900
Wilbraham - Main # (413) 598-7770