If locating the right physician is as challenging as finding a needle in a haystack, you need an alternative. And that doesn't mean culling through a list of names in an insurance guide.
"I would never choose a doctor blindly out of a book by thumbing through an insurance roster," warns Dr. Hilda Hutcherson, a Manhattan-based gynecologist who made our list. "Insurance companies only check to make sure that the doctor is licensed to practice medicine and that they are affiliated with a hospital. They don't go into a lot of detail and are basically looking for doctors who will accept their reduced fees."
So how do you find a top physician? We suggest you take the same steps we did to come up with our list:
Get referrals. We asked reputable institutions and organizations such as Meharry Medical College, Howard University, Morehouse School of Medicine and Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science to provide us with their most recognized alumni in the New York metropolitan area. Next, we requested leads from esteemed organizations such as the National Medical Association, the Association of Black Cardiologists, the Center for Disease Control, and the American Cancer Society. Finally, we asked each of the doctors that made our initial list to make some recommendations of their own.
Conduct research. We also referred to publications that we respected such as New York magazine to determine which African-American doctors made their lists. We then called their offices for further information.
Surf the net. We ran the candidates through sites on the Internet to determine whether they had any unresolved issues as it related to their practice.
But your investigation shouldn't end here. We also recommend that you get recommendations from nurses at the various hospitals in your area. Further, we suggest you talk to your friends and family to get a list of physicians that they like because patients are an excellent resource. And if you have a serious condition, find the top hospital that specializes in your illness and ask them for a referral. Says Dr. Oheneba Boachi-Adjei, "If you go to a top hospital, any [doctor] you get should be able to meet your needs or at least help you make the right connection."
By Monique R. Brown