A physiatrist is a physician specially trained in restoring physical function to all parts of the body through rehabilitation and physical medicine. They focus on acute or chronic discomforts and on muscular or skeletal issues. Finding a physiatrist is relatively easy, but patients with health insurance need to follow their plan's policies in locating and using this specialist.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Consult the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. The AAPM & R is the organizing association for physiatrists. Their website has a special geographical search feature that includes office locations and phone numbers.
Speak with your health insurance provider. Many plans require a referral, and your general physician may be able to recommend a physiatrist colleague. Some insurance companies keep a list of specialists for their members to use.
Call the specialist. Make sure that the office can meet your needs by consulting briefly with the medical receptionist. Find out if the doctor is currently accepting new patients.
Take precautions. Check out your selected doctor thoroughly. Read literature provided by the office, count on word of mouth and listen to your own intuition. If you aren't comfortable with the chosen doctor, start over. Treatment with a physiatrist, as with any physician, could last years. Establish a good relationship in order to get the care you deserve.
Tips and warnings
- To thoroughly check out a potential healthcare worker, contact your state's licensing bureau, which keeps records of licenses, complaints, lawsuits, accolades, specialties and education.