Before your baby is born, set up some interviews with pediatricians to ask about these 10 topics:
1. What is your education and training? Are you board certified in pediatrics? Are you a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics?
2. Do you practice alone or as part of a group? What are the qualifications of the other doctors in the group? Do you have emergency coverage 24 hours a day?
3. At which hospitals do you have admitting privileges? Will you be able to examine my baby where I give birth?
4. What are your office hours? What is your policy regarding late-night, weekend, and holiday appointments?
5. How much time do you allot for each appointment? How hard is it to get a same-day appointment? Do you have a drop-in clinic?
See five more questions to ask your potential new doctor—>
6. Do you (or does someone on your staff) respond to phone messages and emailed questions? Is there a nurse on staff who can answer routine questions? Is there a charge for a telephone consultation?
7. What can you tell me about your philosophy of care? How do you feel about breastfeeding, circumcision, alternative therapies, etc.?
8. What are typical fees for sick visits, routine examinations, and immunizations?
9. In which managed care programs do you participate? Does your office process insurance forms?
10. What happens in case of an emergency or if my child is born with special needs? Will you make referrals to specialists and coordinate care and treatment?
Start your search for a baby doc about 3 months before your due date. Look for a pediatrician at healthychildren.org, or through New Jersey Family's New Jersey’s Favorite Kids’ Docs.
Sources: AAP.org; KidsHealth.org
Randi Mazzella is a mom of three from Short Hills.