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For those in the USA: What is the best way to find a PCP/GP?

Gingergrrl

Senior Member
Messages
16,171
I was wondering if those in the USA could advise me of the best way to find a primary care physician (PCP?) It sounds simple but I have struggled to find one since my last one left her practice in 2012. I saw a naturopath after that but ultimately she was not the right match for me.

The PCP's in my city who are good are full and not accepting new patients. Ideally I would like someone who accepts my insurance but don't even care at this point as long as the person is competent with a patient like me who has multiple complex medical issues and has two working brain cells. Someone recommended that I find a nurse practitioner instead of an MD but I have had no luck with this either (although it is a great suggestion.)

I have several specialists that I see for ME/CFS, MCAS, mold/biotoxin illness etc, as well as Endo, Cardio, ob-gyn, dentist, eye doctor, etc. But I have no PCP and have had a few situations lately where it would have been very helpful to have one (to make a referral or to order a basic test, etc.)

I have searched Google, Yelp, asked friends, etc, but come up empty handed. Are there any websites where you can find one that I am not thinking of? Thanks in advance!
 

Mary

Moderator Resource
Messages
17,293
Location
Southern California
Hi @Gingergrrl - I think you're looking for what we all are, someone who is intelligent and at least willing to work with us, even if they don't know what's going on with us.

You might check out these links, they are for integrative medicine or naturopathic doctors: acam.org, http://www.anh-usa.org/other-good-places-to-find-an-integrative-doctor/

You're in southern California, right? I think you mentioned that a while ago. There's a doctor named Cynthia Watson - at http://watsonwellness.org/ I was considering going to see her, only she's not accepting new Medicare patients and I can't pay out of pocket for a PCP. But I believe she is accepting new patients and I think worth looking into. She's in Santa Monica. Two more integrative medicine doctors in that area are Allen Green M.D. (http://www.allengreenmd.com/) and David Allen M.D. (http://www.davidallenmd.com/)

And you might take a look at this group: http://www.onemedical.com/la/locations/525broadway/
A friend of mine has been a patient of Jennifer Sudarsky for several years.

As you can see, these doctors are all in the Santa Monica area so I don't know if that's convenient for you.

One more thing you might try - I found a fairly decent PCP in my area (Santa Monica is too far for me to go to see a PCP) through Women's International Pharmacy - they compound bioidentical hormones and have a referral list of doctors who use them: http://womensinternational.com/request_referral.html - doctors who use compounded bio-identical hormones I think are more likely to be open-minded and more knowledgeable than your average HMO PCP.

I hope some of this helps - good luck!
 

Gingergrrl

Senior Member
Messages
16,171
Thank you so much @Mary and I will reply to this tomorrow with more specifics. I also have a few questions but too tired right now to put them together right now!
 

WillowJ

คภภเє ɠรค๓թєl
Messages
4,940
Location
WA, USA
I just went through a lot of them before finally finding someone. If you have a clinic in your area with a good reputation, that is sometimes a good place to go, though this doesn't always work out.

Sometimes you can tell a bit from their online bio that they place on their clinic page.

All the best.
 

Sushi

Moderation Resource Albuquerque
Messages
19,934
Location
Albuquerque
Why not give your location and ask others members in your area for recommendations? Or ask one of your specialists for the name of a PCP who might have open ears. Your specialists will be interacting with other patients PCP's so they might have good ideas. I just had to find a new one as mine retired. Both my previous one and my cardiologists gave suggestions.
 

Gingergrrl

Senior Member
Messages
16,171
Thanks for the suggestions and I had the same thought and already asked my ME doc, MCAS & mold docs but they didn't know anyone.

I still plan to respond to Mary's post b/c I have some questions for her b/c three of the people she suggested I already tried and they do not take insurance and are very expensive and two, possibly three for sure are closed to new patients.

My sister has a friend who is a nurse and the two of them tried for several weeks back in May to find me a local PCP to no avail! Most of my friends here do not have a PCP either or they have one they strongly dislike and do not recommend.

Am not doing well today but hope to tackle this PCP issue soon. Really appreciate the feedback and am not giving up but this issue always falls back down to the bottom of my to do list b/c when I try, it is so time consuming and frustrating and I get no where!
 

Dr.Patient

There is no kinship like the one we share!
Messages
505
Location
USA
How about doctors who do housecalls, perhaps they can understand debility more than the others...
 

WillowJ

คภภเє ɠรค๓թєl
Messages
4,940
Location
WA, USA
Does that still exist?
They are working on bringing it back, but I lost track of what progress has been made. Check with your insurer to see whether they are able to bill for this. If they can, they will hopefully be able to tell you if they have any doctors who can come to you.
 

Gingergrrl

Senior Member
Messages
16,171
They are working on bringing it back, but I lost track of what progress has been made. Check with your insurer to see whether they are able to bill for this. If they can, they will hopefully be able to tell you if they have any doctors who can come to you.

I have a horrific insurance plan (an ACA plan through Blue Shield) and they won't pay for anything and it's been a constant battle with them. They called me the second time I was in the hospital and read through a check list of questions and I answered every single one. Then they asked if I needed help and I said yes including very specific things like a case manager or I need them to pay for my meds etc and they said no to all requests and then hung up on me.
 

WillowJ

คภภเє ɠรค๓թєl
Messages
4,940
Location
WA, USA
I have a horrific insurance plan (an ACA plan through Blue Shield) and they won't pay for anything and it's been a constant battle with them. They called me the second time I was in the hospital and read through a check list of questions and I answered every single one. Then they asked if I needed help and I said yes including very specific things like a case manager or I need them to pay for my meds etc and they said no to all requests and then hung up on me.

That's terrible. I'm sorry.

I have heard that in some areas Blue Shield can be bad.

Can you get help from your state Insurance Commissioner? It is terrible that someone so ill has to jump through so many hoops to get something they have a contract with someone to provide for them.
 

jimells

Senior Member
Messages
2,009
Location
northern Maine
I have a horrific insurance plan (an ACA plan through Blue Shield)

I recall my parents bitterly complaining about Blue Cross/Blue Shield more than 40 years ago! They have a very long history of sticking it to the patients.

My conclusion is that it is near impossible to find a competent and compassionate family doctor. I think the physician manufacturing machine takes bright young people and grinds 'em up. Not to mention that specialists have better hours and make more money.
 

Gingergrrl

Senior Member
Messages
16,171
Thanks Willow and jimells and I had also thought that the insurance can help you find a PCP but they can't. They just give you a list and you call every person who is not taking new patients or has moved away or is less knowledgeable about medicine than I am. Am thinking of abandoning this idea for now and coming back to it later b/c when my sister and her friend who is an RN nurse tried to find me one for a month back in May and couldn't find one, it validated that I had really tried!
 

Gingergrrl

Senior Member
Messages
16,171
@Mary

You might check out these links, they are for integrative medicine or naturopathic doctors: acam.org, http://www.anh-usa.org/other-good-places-to-find-an-integrative-doctor/

Thank you and I bookmarked this post so I can look at that link later.

You're in southern California, right?

Yes.

There's a doctor named Cynthia Watson - at http://watsonwellness.org/ I was considering going to see her, only she's not accepting new Medicare patients and I can't pay out of pocket for a PCP.

She is only private pay and unbelievably expensive and full to new patients. Tried off and on to get accepted by her since 2010!

Two more integrative medicine doctors in that area are Allen Green M.D. (http://www.allengreenmd.com/)

Tried calling him as well but he is crazy expensive and his website lists "chronic fatigue" treatment as CBT and GET which shocked me for a US doctor and it was a direct copy of the CDC website. This was last summer and the website has slightly changed the definition but still says for CF, they refer to mental health and exercise so I know it's not for me. I have specialists that I will pay crazy amounts for but I wanted a basic PCP who takes my insurance and he doesn't take insurance at all.


Do not know him and will look at website.

And you might take a look at this group: http://www.onemedical.com/la/locations/525broadway/
A friend of mine has been a patient of Jennifer Sudarsky for several years.

I was a patient of JS in 2010 (pre me/cfs) and one of the worst docs I have ever seen which says a lot. She was super expensive (did not take insurance) and pushed high dose Vit C IV's and buying her supplements at every visit. I was severely injured by Levaquin at that time (by ENT, not by her) and was admitted to hospital and she told me she did not believe in hospitals and not to go even though my tendon was near rupture and was having systemic neurotoxic reaction and the ER wanted to admit me along with ENT. She was beyond unhelpful. Afterward she asked me if I went to hospital b/c I was "upset about a break-up" which blew my mind, I went b/c the ENT told me to go b/c my reaction to Levaquin was so severe, he thought I had guillane barre, MS, or a brain tumor.

Women's International Pharmacy - they compound bioidentical hormones and have a referral list of doctors who use them: http://womensinternational.com/request_referral.html - doctors who use compounded bio-identical hormones I think are more likely to be open-minded and more knowledgeable than your average HMO PCP.

Not familiar with them and will take a look.

My sister tried to get me an appt at the Akasha Center b/c her friend who is a nurse recommended them as a PCP and I was so sick back in May I said okay and then initial consult was over $900 so I canceled!

I have had good luck finding specialists but finding a PCP who takes my insurance is like searching for the holy grail. Okay rant over. Thank you Mary!

ETA: @Mary, I looked at One Medical Link and it looks like they have multiple locations and multiple doctors and even though there is a $199 membership fee to join, they do accept ACA plans like Blue Shield (which shocked me since no one does and we chose the wrong plan but are stuck for now) so this might be an option as I wouldn't have to see the particular doc that I had a bad experience with.
 
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WillowJ

คภภเє ɠรค๓թєl
Messages
4,940
Location
WA, USA
we chose the wrong plan but are stuck for now
Medicare has a deal where you can change once, if you are not on a 5-star plan, to get on a 5-star plan (the stars are a bit misleading because they are done by conforming to a rubric for very specific things: they can be very good at those things and horrible at everything else and still get 5 stars).... does ACA offer anything like this? supposing your plan does not have 5 stars (and any other plan does, if they are all new)?

This sounds so rough, hang in there.
 

Gingergrrl

Senior Member
Messages
16,171
Medicare has a deal where you can change once, if you are not on a 5-star plan, to get on a 5-star plan (the stars are a bit misleading because they are done by conforming to a rubric for very specific things: they can be very good at those things and horrible at everything else and still get 5 stars).... does ACA offer anything like this? supposing your plan does not have 5 stars (and any other plan does, if they are all new)?

This sounds so rough, hang in there.

Thanks Willow and I don't have SS or Medicare yet. The ACA plan mistakenly dropped us three times before we straightened it out and is the most chaotic disorganized insurance I have ever had. It's almost worse than not having insurance in some ways and we should have picked Anthem Blue Cross over Blue Shield but too late for now. We have the platinum plan which is supposed to be the best one!
 

Mary

Moderator Resource
Messages
17,293
Location
Southern California
I was a patient of JS in 2010 (pre me/cfs) and one of the worst docs I have ever seen which says a lot. She was super expensive (did not take insurance) and pushed high dose Vit C IV's and buying her supplements at every visit. I was severely injured by Levaquin at that time (by ENT, not by her) and was admitted to hospital and she told me she did not believe in hospitals and not to go even though my tendon was near rupture and was having systemic neurotoxic reaction and the ER wanted to admit me along with ENT. She was beyond unhelpful. Afterward she asked me if I went to hospital b/c I was "upset about a break-up" which blew my mind, I went b/c the ENT told me to go b/c my reaction to Levaquin was so severe, he thought I had guillane barre, MS, or a brain tumor.

Hi @Gingergrrl - I'm sorry you had such a bad experience with Dr. Sudarsky. My friend has seen Dr. Sudarsky for many years using edicare. So I'm sure she takes other insurance plans as I've never seen a doctor who takes Medicare who doesn't take other insurance. My friend sees her annually, she's her PCP, and has been happy with her. Dr. Sudarsky urged her to have a hip replacement several years ago, which of course meant hospitalization, so it sounds odd to hear her say she doesn't believe in hospitals - but your experience does sound like a nightmare. In any event, as you noted, she now is with the One Medical Link group (which takes several different insurance plans plus Medicare) and hopefully you might find another doctor there.

I saw David Allen (listed above) a couple of times. It was a difficult drive for me from Lancaster, down the 405 (nightmare freeway!). He was okay, and I might have seen him more but it was too hard to get there for me. He did take Medicare at the time (5 years ago) and did Nutreval testing for me. Also pretty easy to get an appointment so he might work as a PCP for you. I don't think he's particularly knowledgeable about CFS/ME, but I think he would be willing to work with a patient and order tests, etc.

And again, I did get a good referral from Women's International Pharmacy. Found a doctor who uses compounded bio-identical hormones and also Armour thyroid - there are tons of PCPs out there, but I didn't want one who didn't do this basic stuff.

Good luck - it's just rotten that it's so hard for us to find good medical care!
 

Dr.Patient

There is no kinship like the one we share!
Messages
505
Location
USA
Perhaps you can search for house calls doctors online in your area...