Choosing a Healthcare Provider When You’re Far from Home

Choosing a healthcare provider when you’re far from home is never easy to do. Since you never know when or where an urgency or emergency will occur, this isn’t something you can prepare for. But there is a way to compare providers wherever you are. This gives you an opportunity to switch providers if yours falls short of your standards.

Where to Find Healthcare Provider Reviews

Not all doctors get healthcare provider reviews on Yelp, even though it manages to list most physicians. If you don’t find useful reviews on Yelp, then try some of these other sites.

Healthcare Provider Review Sites

Healthgrades is specific to healthcare provider reviews. Just enter the zip code and specialty to get a list of providers in that area. Each provider listed shows their name, distance from the zip code you entered, specialty and star rating. If you click on the name you‘ll see a page related to that doctor’s reviews. Next, click on the “Responses” (next to the stars) to see the review page. In addition to reviews you’ll find a list of hospital affiliations for each doctor. If you click on those facilities you will get the hopsitals’ review information.

Vitals, another healthcare provider review site, fell a bit short of my confidence level. I typed in a specialty that I knew had quite a few physicians in the area I entered but the system returned only four of them. It’s possible that these were the only doctors reviewed on this system, so it may be user driven rather than listing all of the physicians. When I tried sorting them by review score (descending order,) the one with 4 points was listed before the one with 4 ½ points. So that wasn’t very reliable, either. Clicking on “Read Reviews” brings up a page listing both star ratings and review comments. Unfortunately, some excellent physicians are not listed on this site.

Zocdoc limits you to doctors who use the Zocdoc system, but, also, lists every one of their listed doctors within 50 miles. As a traveler in an unfamiliar location, you probably don’t want to have to travel that far when you could find a good doctor within just a few miles of where you are.

Medicare Sites

Many full time RVers rely on Medicare for healthcare insurance. Finding a good healthcare provider that takes Medicare may cause delays. Calling around takes time, as does finding a directory for an unfamiliar community. There are five sites where you can find healthcare providers that accept Medicare. I don’t think there’s a way to review doctors or facilities, but you can see who accepts Medicare and compare standardized survey results. Do click on the “View Rating Details” links. This takes you to the breakdown of areas comparing how physicians or facilities rated.

These sites are listed by category:

Physician Compare

“Physician Compare is a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) website that helps you find and choose physicians and other health care professionals enrolled in Medicare so that you can make informed choices about the health care you get, as required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010.

At this time you can compare group practices on Physician Compare. You’ll be able to compare individual physicians and other health care professionals in the future.”

If you can’t find a specific doctor on this site, check under the “Find Group Practices” tab. Under each practice you’ll find a list of all the doctors affiliated with that practice. There are several links to other information on this site that you might find useful.

Hospital Compare

You can search to find the hospitals in an area you set by zip code and the number of miles from that zip code. From that list, you can compare 3 at a time. The comparison page has six tabs for different areas surveyed, which compares each hospital’s results for that area of care to the state and national averages.

Nursing Home Compares Healthcare Providers in this Category 

The nursing home comparisons works similarly to the hospital comparisons. Choose up to three to compare at one time, then choose the specific tab topics you want to compare. While you hope you never have to use these services, a serious condition might require you to go temporarily to a nursing home facility to finish recovering if you cannot recover at home or in your RV.

Home Health Agency Compares Healthcare Providers in this Category 

The home health agency comparisons work similarly to the hospital and nursing home comparisons. Choose up to three to compare at a time, then choose the specific tab topics you want to compare.

Dialysis Facility Compare

Again, this site operates similarly to the others. Enter a zip code then choose up to three dialysis providers to compare.

 Hopefully, you will never need any of these services in your travels. But knowing how to find a practitioner or facility that you can trust, or that takes Medicare should make things easier. Hope this helps.

Wishing y’all great RVing adventures


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