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How to choose the best pediatrician for your family

New baby or moving to a new area? These tips will help find the right fit

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(CNN)

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando area is a big area for transplants -- lots of people choose Central Florida as a location to move to with their families.

Families mean children, and those kids are probably going to need a new pediatrician. Or maybe you're going to have a new baby and you need to find a pediatrician to take care of your new bundle of joy.

Either way, it's a big decision that will impact your family, so you want to make sure you're finding the right person for the job.

Check with your insurance

Of course, a major factor to take into consideration will be whether the doctor or doctors of choice accept the insurance your family has. Most insurance plans have a searchable feature on their website where you can check to see if they fall in network. It's also a good idea to call the individual offices to double-check that they still take your plan, because medical providers and insurance carriers renegotiate from time to time. That's easy way to know for sure whether you'll be covered.

Check with the American Academy of Pediatrics

Most experts recommend you find a pediatrician that's a current member of the organization American Academy of Pediatrics. If they have the letters FAAP after their name, it means they are board-certified in pediatrics, committed to lifelong learning, advocates for children and families and up to date on the latest in child health, according to HealthyChildren.org.

Get references from family, friends, neighbors, etc.

A lot of times, word-of-mouth is the best way to find someone you're comfortable with. Hearing about the personal experiences people you care about have had will often give you a good idea about whether you'll work well with someone. A lot of people tend to post in community Facebook groups asking for the recommendations of their neighbors, especially when they're new to the area. All of this information is great to take into consideration, although it is important to remember that one bad experience doesn't necessarily mean you'll have one, too.

Schedule a meet and greet

Most experts recommend you schedule a meet and greet with any potential pediatricians you're considering. Those appointments are usually offered at no charge to expectant parents, but you can easily check that out with a quick phone call. Of course, you want to be sure the pediatrician is qualified, but bedside manner also counts for a lot, so that's what you'll be looking for during your meeting. Be sure to also check the location and office hours for each business, since you'll want to make sure they are as convenient as possible for your schedule.

Ask questions

Once the business part of the deal is over, there are some other things you're going to want to consider, including the following: 

What hospitals do they have privileges at?

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Do they have someone on call or an answering service after hours?

If the practice has more than one doctor, will you be seeing the same person every time, or if you'll see multiple doctors, does everyone have the same approaches and beliefs?

Do they have short-notice sick appointments?

Some parents prefer different entrances and/or waiting areas for sick patients vs. well patients, do they offer that option?

Do their views on vaccines and antibiotics match up with yours?

Do you respond to questions by email? Do you accept calls for routine and non-emergency questions? If I leave a message, how long does it usually take you to return the call?


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