Many Black Americans feel that they are talked down to by their doctor1 and that the whole experience is stressful. This reinforces the idea that many African Americans believe they are always under attack from law enforcement in their communities and are portrayed unfairly by some media outlets. Local and state governments allocate fewer resources to improve minority neighborhoods. Jay Harold wrote a post, “Talking to Doctor Presents Challenges for African Americans,” that addresses these concerns.
Despite the problems found in communicating with your doctor; you play an important role as part of a team effort to receive quality health care. One of the best ways to contact your doctor and healthcare team is by asking questions and preparing some questions in advance because time is limited during medical appointments.
Why you need Answers!
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides these facts about the African American Population2:
- Percent of persons all ages in fair or poor health: 13.5%
- The Percent of men 20 years and over with obesity: 37.6% (2011-2014)
- Percent of women 20 years and over with obesity: 56.9% (2011-2014)
- The Percent of men 20 years and over with hypertension (measured high blood pressure and/or taking antihypertensive medication): 40.9% (2011-2014)
- Percent of women 20 years and over with hypertension (measured high blood pressure and/or taking antihypertensive medication): 44.8% (2011-2014)
Questions to Ask Your Doctor3
- Is the doctor taking new patients?
- Is the doctor covered by my insurance plan?
- Does the doctor accept Medicare?
Qualifications and Characteristics
- Is the doctor board certified? In what field?
- Is the age, sex, race, or religion of the doctor important to me?
- Will language be an obstacle to communication? Is there someone in the office who speaks my language?
- Do I prefer a group practice or an individual doctor?
- Does it matter which hospital the doctor admits patients to?
- Is the location of the doctor’s office important? How far am I willing to travel to see the doctor?
- Is there parking? What does it cost? Is the office on a bus or subway line?
- Does the building have an elevator? What about ramps for a wheelchair or walker?
- What days/hours does the doctor see patients?
- Are there times set aside for the doctor to take phone calls? Does the doctor accept emailed questions? Is there a charge for this service?
- Does the doctor ever make house calls?
- How far in advance do I have to make appointments?
- What’s the process for urgent care? How do I reach the doctor in an emergency?
- Who takes care of patients after hours or when the doctor is away?
The leading causes of death for Black Americans in 20154 according to the CDC are Heart Disease, Cancer and Unintentional Injuries. Asking your doctor questions could help save your life.
Jay Harold hopes you enjoyed this post, “17 Questions to Ask About Your New Doctor”. Please Share it and read more about Jay Harold here. Please take this advice from Muhammad Ali and give back to others. “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”