Changing doctors when moving might be overlooked if someone is generally healthy. However, for those with medical issues or when moving elderly parents, knowing health care can be transferred to good doctors becomes as important as packing the boxes. After all, some specialists may have month long waiting lists for new patients. If you are a long-distance caregiver looking to move your loved one closer, this list will help organize the transfer of medical care. If you’re preparing your own move, this checklist can help make sure you aren’t caught after your move without medical records or medical care.
Organization is key to changing doctors when moving.
This 6 Step Checklist for changing doctors when moving apply to any move. They’re especially helpful for caregivers and family members who are helping elderly parents move.
These are the steps we are using to help my mother-in-law prepare to move.
Disclaimer: I’m not a professional mover, doctor or legal representative. I’m just another somebody who has moved and is helping others simplify and organize their moving processes.
1. List all the existing doctors, specialists and current health care needs.
If you’re already helping out with doctor visits, you may have a health journal. If not, hop over to our post on 5 Strategies for Long-Distance Caregiving for Doctor Visits to see how a health journal could simplify visits. Pin it to read our strategies later. A health journal can be a physical journal or a note on your phone.
2. Are there any upcoming scheduled appointments? Who are they with and are they time sensitive?
Does the move need to be planned around any of the upcoming appointments? Are any of the upcoming appointments part of an ongoing treatment plan that would need to transfer quickly (example: cancer treatments)?
3. Research potential providers when changing doctors when moving to a new location.
Reach out to your local community for provider suggestions for each area of specialization you need. Create a spreadsheet or separate page in your health journal to make notes about potential providers. You’ll use this list to keep track of who has been selected as the new provider and where you are in the transfer process.
4. Will insurance be changing with the move? Anything need to be done to make sure there isn’t a gap in coverage?
Verify your health insurance covers your new providers. When helping elderly patients, there may be questions about Medicare coverage. This is a resource available, as well as directly working with Medicare. If a Medicare supplement plan is being utilized, it’s possible there are restrictions to the plan being used out of state. Contact the medical supplement company to ensure coverage will not be lost or have any gaps in coverage during a move. Some supplement plans will only switch on the first of the month, so this could affect the desired moving date.
5. Let existing providers know you will be moving. Ask for referrals to new providers. Transfer your medical records when changing doctors when moving.
It’s not a bad idea to ask for a copy of your medical records that you can keep safe yourself in case you need to be seen by a new provider before your records are transferred by the office. You can notify the billing and medical records staff in advance of your appointment that you need your medical records and they may be able to have them ready for you to take after your appointment.
The health care industry may have adopted technological advances in patient care, but not in record keeping. Many offices still utilize paper records so a direct transfer may mean snail mail or fax. Be sure to ask the current and new providers if they support electronically transferring the information. Many offices may charge transfer fees.
6. Transfer prescriptions to a new pharmacy.
If you are on any prescriptions, make sure to fill them just before moving so you have a little time to settle into your new home before you have to find a new pharmacy. Know that sometimes there is a delay when transferring prescriptions, so don’t wait until you’re out to start the process.