The Ultimate Moving Checklist When it Comes to Health Care

September 28, 2019

The process of moving is stressful for just about everyone. If you are moving to a new town it’s a good idea to scout out health care resources ahead of time. This way, you have a provider and locations selected for routine care—or in the event that you need care when you least expect it.

Which health resources should be on your moving checklist? We’ve rounded up a few ideas to help you assemble your new care team and avoid last-minute scrambling.

Health Care Providers

Primary Care Physician: This is often the first doctor you may wish to find when preparing to relocate, or shortly after you move.

“People tend to spend more time finding a new primary care physician because this is the doctor that you are most likely to see often,” says Karnik Patel, D.O., an internal medicine physician. “Choose someone who takes into account a broad range of past health issues and lifestyle factors so he or she can give you comprehensive care.

“It’s a good idea to get someone who is part of the hospital network you prefer, in the event you are referred to a specialist,” Dr. Karnik adds. “This can also ensure that all of your medical information is in one network technology wise, so information can easily be shared.”

Pediatrician: If you have children, this probably will be the first doctor you look to replace upon relocating. Finding a pediatrician may not be difficult, but finding one that you connect with is key to a great long-term relationship and care for your child. Ask the doctor about things like well visit protocol as well as how they respond to urgent calls.

“It’s not uncommon to meet with a pediatrician before enrolling your child as a patient,” says Mary Fury, D.O., a board certified pediatrician. “Most pediatricians are used to fielding inquiries from parents, so ask away when it comes to questions. The doctor wants you to be comfortable asking for what you need, and doing so ahead of time can be a good indicator if the physician is the right fit for you and your family.

OB/GYN: Women will want to choose a new OB/GYN as part of their medical care when relocating.

“Some may even search for an OB/GYN before trying to find a primary care provider—that’s how integral they can be to overall health,” Erin Curcio, D.O., an OB/GYN, says. “You never know when a problem may arise, so it’s always smart to start researching OB/GYNs. This is especially true for women who are expecting or may be in the future, as you want to know which hospital an OB/GYN is affiliated with for delivery purposes.”

Specialists: Which specialists do members of your family frequent? Perhaps you see a cardiologist or endocrinologist.

“Replacing a specialist takes a little time and research, because you want to find a specialist that is as good as your old one,” says David Silber, D.O., board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease, advanced heart failure and cardiac transplantation and adult echocardiography. “And if you didn’t like your old specialist, moving is a great opportunity to find a new one.”

Convenient Care Options

Urgent Care Center: Get familiar with the urgent care centers in your new area—ASAP! This way you’re not scrambling to find a location when one of life’s little emergencies arises and your regular doctor is not available.

“Many hospital systems now have urgent care centers in their network, which ensures that your medical information stays in one place and can be easily accessed by all of the care providers in your network,” Jeffrey Welsh, director of Convenient Care, Hackensack Meridian Health says.

Learn about the hospitals in your new area, and choose an emergency department as you do your research. If you have children, you may want to find a hospital that has a dedicated children’s emergency department. You never know when you may need emergency care, and being able to do some research before hand can alleviate hassle and put your mind at ease.

“It’s good to know which hospital you will go to in the event you need broader care, because that is likely to be the emergency room you turn to in a pinch,” says Joseph Underwood, M.D., an emergency medicine physician. “Knowing which emergency department you will visit in the event of a true emergency is good because it can be a huge time-saver. Also, if you are aware of your insurance policy’s stipulations on emergency care, it can help as well.”

Telemedicine: Finding a telemedicine provider may not be high on your priority list when you have a new mortgage or a living room lined with cardboard moving boxes, but maybe it should be?

“Many insurance policies now offer telemedicine services that can be quite useful for non-emergency situations,” says Michael Geiger, vice president of Care Transformation Service, Hackensack Meridian Health. “Video chat with a doctor, 24 hours a day/7 days a week, without ever leaving the house and it only takes about a half hour.”

RediClinics: For school and sports physicals, immunizations and health screenings, RediClinic locations are quick and convenient choices- located next to the pharmacy inside select Rite Aids. “They offer extended weekday and weekend hours and are staffed by nurse practitioners who are able to conduct limited diagnostic lab testing and prescribe medication” says Welsh. Scheduling your appointment online can save you even more time.

Staying Healthy

Fitness Center: Don’t let a move interrupt your fitness routine. When you’re searching for new doctors, make the time to learn more about local fitness centers.

“In planning which fitness center to go with, you can also cross-check it to see if your insurance has any fitness benefits,” explains Julianna Dods, vice president of Tilton Fitness. “Some policies will cover membership to a fitness center that is part of a hospital network, which can be a win–win.”

Pharmacy: Finding a slew of new doctors for the family can be challenging enough, but making time to search for a pharmacy can be a real time-saver. Selecting a pharmacy ahead of time ensures that all your prescriptions can stay housed under one roof.

“Find a pharmacy in a location that’s near places you go often like work, school or your doctor’s office,” Robert Schenk, director of ambulatory pharmacy at Hackensack Meridian Health says.

“Also, check to see if you have a prescription drug plan for mail-in prescriptions. You can give this information to your physician in the event that you need a long-term medication that can be mailed to you regularly,” Schenk notes.

Integrative Health Programs: If you already take part in integrative health and medicine practices, this is something you won’t want to give up when you move. If the concept is new to you, the stress of a moving is a great time to explore ways that integrative health techniques may help.

“There are a number of programs and services you can look into, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction, resiliency training, acupuncture, Reiki, reflexology and CBT-I (cognitive behavioral treatment for insomnia) that’ll help you maintain health and well-being,” explains David Leopold, M.D., medical director of Hackensack Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine. “A quality health network will offer all of these services in one place.”

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The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.