FAIRFIELD — The kind of relationship you have with your physician can go a long way toward assuring optimal health for you and your family.
That’s why it’s important to find a doctor you trust and are comfortable with long before anyone in your family becomes sick, according to most health care experts.
If you are moving, changing insurance or need to make an overall change, there are a number of things to consider when looking for a primary care physician, and the medical network in which he or she practices.
Top considerations might be the physician’s office location (particularly if it is close to your home or work), the physician’s specialty and board certification. It’s also important to consider the depth of the network of specialists who also practice within the medical organization. Will you have access to the best urologists, rheumatologists or endocrinologists within that system, should the need arise?
NorthBay Healthcare has three Centers for Primary Care facilities – one in Fairfield, one in Green Valley and one in Vacaville – and between them they house as many as 19 physicians who are board-certified in pediatrics, family practice and internal medicine.
NorthBay Healthcare’s Center for Women’s Health, located in Fairfield on the NorthBay Medical Center campus, is home to as many as five physicians who are specialists in obstetrics and gynecology, family practice and internal medicine, all designed exclusively for women.
In addition, NorthBay Healthcare operates two Centers for Specialty Care – located at 1010 Nut Tree Road in Vacaville and at 1860 Pennsylvania Avenue in Fairfield. Physicians practicing in these centers are board-certified in such specialties as pulmonology, general surgery, breast reconstruction, urology and infectious diseases, among others.
To see the expanding array of specialties available throughout the organization, go to www.NorthBay.org.
Now that you’ve found a Center for Primary Care near you, you can schedule a get-acquainted interview to learn more about its physicians and their area of focus. Review the physician biographies and videos on www.NorthBay.org. Schedule a no-charge appointment to meet with the physician.
It also helps to gather input from friends and family. Does their physician have the time to listen and answer all their questions? Is the office staff helpful and friendly? Does your doctor speak your native language? Does he or she understand your cultural beliefs? How does the office handle after-hours emergencies? Is there typically a long wait for appointments, or in the waiting room? Does it matter if the physician is a male or female, or older or younger than you? What hospital serves these physicians?
For NorthBay Healthcare, there are two: NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield, with its trauma center and chest pain center, and NorthBay VacaValley in Vacaville.
When you do meet with the physician, ask about his or her background and training. Is the practice full, or nearing maximum care capacity? You might also want to know who will care for you or your family when the physician is unavailable.
Ask about MyNorthBayDoc, NorthBay’s online site, which allows you to schedule appointments online, email your doctor and health care team and get test results quickly.
Above all, have faith in your instincts. Can this physician be someone you can trust with your concerns? Does he or she listen carefully to you, seem genuinely interested and is willing to answer your questions? Do you feel, as NorthBay believes, that your family is being treated like family, with compassionate care, close to home?
To find out more, go to www.NorthBay.org.
To schedule an appointment at the Center for Primary Care at 2458 Hilborn Road in Fairfield, call 646-5500. To schedule an appointment at the Green Valley Center for Primary Care, 5140 Business Center Drive, call 646-3500. To schedule an appointment in Vacaville at 421 Nut Tree Road, call 624-7500.
Diane Barney is director of public relations for NorthBay Healthcare in Fairfield.