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Choosing a Doctor

When it's time to change, do some research

It's happened again: Your medical insurance plan has dropped your primary-care physician. Now you have to leaf through that telephone directory-size book looking for a new doctor.

Don't despair. The National Institutes of Heath has advice on how to choose a doctor. First, ask a friend, relative or health-care professional for a recommendation. When you have a list of three or so candidates, call each office and ask staff members about the doctor's education and training.

Then you may want to make an appointment to talk to the doctor in person. Be sure to ask questions important to you. For instance, if you're older, you may want to know how much experience the doctor has treating patients your age.

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