Is It 'Doctor's Appointment' or 'Doctor Appointment'?

What to Know Both doctor's appointment and doctor appointment are acceptable for describing a medical visit. In the first case the 's , instead of showing possession, is actually showing association; appointments of this nature are associated with doctors. In the latter case, the noun doctor is being used adjectivally to describe the type of appointment.


Grammarian, heal thyself.

Let's say you're due for your annual checkup. Do you say you have a "doctor's appointment" or a "doctor appointment"?

If you're like the majority of English speakers you'll say "doctor's appointment," even though nothing is wrong with the less common "doctor appointment."

Why do most of us say "doctor's appointment"? The simple answer is that it's convention. Just why either is fine is more complicated—so read on, language enthusiast.

Whose Appointment Is It?

The most common function of the 's in English is to show possession, as in "the cat's bowl." There are other ways to show possession—"the bowl of the cat," for example—but 's is the way it's most often done.

But that isn't all that 's does. Though we recognize that it is deeply controversial to say so, 's is sometimes a marker of the plural, as in "mind your p's and q's" and "a pattern of x's." It also functions as the contracted form of us in let's and the contracted form of is in the likes of it's , she's , and he's .

But there's also the 's that looks at first glance like a regular possessive marker but that is actually something else. Let's turn to the phrase "the cat's meow." It isn't so much that the meow belongs to the cat as it is that the meow comes from the cat. The 's in "the cat's meow" marks not the possessive (in the strict sense of that word) but the genitive, and specifically what we can call the genitive of origin.

The Genitive Case

"Ah, of course, the genitive ," says almost no one. We'll explain: the genitive is a grammatical case (quick review: a grammatical case is, a semantic relational category apparent in the varying forms a noun, pronoun, or adjective has) that shows that someone or something owns, controls, or is associated with someone or something else.

The genitive case is a lot like the possessive case. In fact, when people talk about the genitive case in modern English they mostly call it the possessive case. (This is largely because of one very influential 18th century grammarian, Bishop Lowth, who thought "possessive case" was the better term.) This is fine except that because of the meaning of the word possess , it in some cases muddies the semantic waters. For our purposes, we'll stick with genitive case , which is more easily understood as being about control and association as well as ownership.

There are a number of categories within the genitive case, among them the "genitive of origin," which we see in "the cat's meow." Another is the "descriptive genitive," which is exactly how Patricia T. O’Conner and Stewart Kellerman identify "doctor's appointment" on their excellent Grammarphobia blog . The authors describe the pair of phrases thusly:

In the phrase “doctor’s appointment,” the noun “doctor” is being used genitively to describe the type of appointment, while in “doctor appointment,” the noun is being used attributively (that is, adjectivally) to do the same thing. The term “doctor’s” in the first example is often called a “descriptive genitive,” and “doctor” in the second an “attributive noun,” a “noun adjunct,” or a “noun premodifier.” There aren’t any hard-and-fast rules for whether to use a noun genitively or attributively as a modifier before another noun. However, some usages are more idiomatic (that is, natural to a native speaker) than others.

Our research concurs: both "doctor's appointment" and "doctor appointment" are syntactically and grammatically correct. Why "doctor's appointment" has been the more popular choice since any form of doctor started to modify appointment with any regularity (which wasn't until the second part of the 20th century) is likely nothing more than convention.

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"To see a doctor" vs "to visit a doctor"

  • Thread starter Nicknamed
  • Start date Jun 20, 2020

Senior Member

  • Jun 20, 2020

Hello to everybody, what's the difference between the 2 following sentences? 1) You should visit a doctor. 2) You should see a doctor. The context is someone who feels sick. Thanks  

Keith Bradford

Keith Bradford

No difference in meaning. There's also "you should consult a doctor".  


I don't think I've heard people using "visit a doctor" in BE. I'd expect most people to use "see".  


Moderato con anima (English Only)

Yes, 'visit a doctor' sounds a bit strange to me. Quite often people say, 'You should go and see a doctor.'  

I agree with Andygc and Natkretep. See: Google Ngram Viewer  

How to get in to see primary care physicians and specialists — quickly

The average wait for an appointment with a physician for new patients is 26 days, according to a 2022 survey of 15 metropolitan areas.

Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with any advertisers on this site.

Need to see a doctor right away? Today, that can be challenging.

The average wait for an appointment with a physician for new patients is 26 days, according to a 2022 survey of 15 metropolitan areas by the physician recruiting firm Merritt Hawkins. That’s the longest it has been since the company began doing the survey in 2004. In addition, 22 percent of adults 65 or older waited six days or more for a doctor’s appointment when they were sick, according to a 2021 survey of 11 high-income countries by the Commonwealth Fund , a nonprofit group. Only Canada had a higher percentage of long waits.

One of several likely reasons is that the number of doctors leaving the workplace is increasing without enough new ones to replace them. A poll of more than 600 medical groups, released last year by the Medical Group Management Association , found that 40 percent reported they had a doctor leave or retire early — because of burnout.

And the shortfall of doctors is projected to only grow, especially for those in primary care. There, we may see a deficit of up to 48,000 doctors by 2034, the Association of American Medical Colleges says . “It’s very concerning for older adults,” says Terry Fulmer, president of the John A. Hartford Foundation in New York, which works to improve care for older adults. Many “need primary care to stay on top of any kind of chronic disease.”

But certain steps may help you get appointments when you need them or find a new doctor when the time comes.

How to get faster primary care

For a condition that’s annoying but not critical, first call your doctor or access your primary care physician’s online scheduling tool, if there is one, to see how quickly you can snag a spot. But that doesn’t always work, so try the following if you’re too sick to wait even a couple of days:

Put your name on a waiting list. Doctors’ offices often get last-minute cancellations. So book the appointment you’re offered but ask to be put on a waiting list. If you can be flexible about dates and times, tell the office staff so that they contact you with anything that opens up.

Be ready to act fast. Make sure you’re clear on how the practice fills appointments that open up at the last minute. For instance, will they phone you, text you or message you on the patient portal? “Usually, you don’t have much time before they move on to the next patient, especially if it’s a same-day or next-day cancellation,” Fulmer says.

See someone else in the practice. You can ask whether another physician there has a more open schedule. But if the office has a nurse practitioner or physician assistant, you may find that you can get an appointment with one of them pretty quickly. State laws vary, but generally, nurse practitioners and physician assistants can do many of the same things a doctor can , including diagnosing and managing a variety of medical conditions and writing prescriptions.

Plus, “their education often emphasizes patient-centered care, which means they may listen more,” says Peter Hollmann, a geriatrician and chief medical officer for Brown Medicine in Providence, R.I. Case in point: A 2021 review of 13 studies, published in the International Journal of Nursing Studies Advances , found the care given by NPs in primary care was equal to — and sometimes superior to — that of doctors.

Use your doctor’s network. The hospital or medical system your provider is affiliated with may help you find a same-day appointment with a different doctor (and practice). Check online, using the name of the facility and “same-day appointments.”

Get video care on demand. If you’d rather not leave home and cannot quickly get a telehealth visit with your doctor, ask university hospitals, medical centers, health insurers or telehealth companies to help you “meet” with another medical provider online. These are often same-day appointments. When we checked the Yale New Haven Health website , for example, it had available openings within the hour.

Try a convenient care clinic. You can go to a nearby urgent care clinic , a walk-in facility staffed by doctors and nurse practitioners. Another option is a convenient care clinic, which are walk-ins staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants. They’re often in chain pharmacies. Both types of facilities should send notes and recommendations to your primary care doctor after the visit, but it’s wise to confirm that they do.

How to see a specialist sooner

Can’t get an appointment with a new specialist as soon as you’d like? Book the first available opening and ask to be put on a waiting list. Consider these strategies, too:

Lean on your primary. Instead of struggling to book an appointment with a busy specialist on your own, ask your primary care provider for assistance, says R. Sean Morrison, chair of the Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. He or she can talk to the specialist’s office and explain why you should be seen in a timely way or determine whether another specialist who is more available may be just as appropriate.

Ask about an e-consult. In some cases, your primary care doctor may be able to discuss your health problem with the specialist. These doctor-to-doctor consultations are typically done online and may yield helpful information before your appointment or cancel the need for an in-person visit.

Check other locations. If the specialist you want to see has multiple offices, ask if there is more availability in one of the other places.

Call your health plan. If you’re having a hard time getting in to see a specialist (or any provider), contact your health plan’s member services department, says Michael Hochman, an internist in Los Angeles. “Health insurance companies have service-level standards, which includes the expectation that you can get in to see a specialist within 30 days if you need to,” he says. They may be able to help you find a different specialist your PCP is comfortable with who can see you sooner.

Use waiting time well. Ask your PCP if doing certain tests ahead of time might help the process move more quickly once you see a specialist. “If you do need to wait for a while, it’s ideal to get at least some of the work-up done before, so the specialist already has all that information in hand when they see you,” Morrison says.

How to find the right new doctor

If you’re looking for a new PCP — because the strategies here have not worked well enough, or your current doctor is leaving the profession or retiring — three steps can ease the way.

Cast a wide net. Ask your friends, family members and neighbors whom they go to and if they’d recommend them, Hochman says. Also, check with specialists you see and anyone you know who works in health care. Contact the practices that sound appealing.

Check availability. First, find out whether the doctor you’re interested in is taking new patients and accepts your insurance. (Using the name of a health-care professional or current patient may help if the doctor you decide on has a waiting list for new patients.) Then, in addition to considering how convenient the location is, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends inquiring about office hours (including nights and weekends), how long it typically takes to get appointments, whether virtual appointments are available and who can see you if your doctor is unavailable. You’ll also want to see whether the practice has nurse practitioners and physician assistants, and which hospital system the doctor is affiliated with.

Look for an age-friendly philosophy. That you want a doctor who is knowledgeable and respectful goes without saying, but as the years pass, it’s also wise to seek age-friendly care . This doesn’t always mean geriatricians; they are few and far between. The truth is, if you’re in relatively good health, you may not need a geriatrician, Hochman says. Instead, ask if the practice focuses on the 4Ms: what matters (your goals and priorities); medication safety and appropriateness; mentation (cognition and mood); and mobility (ways to keep you moving).

If you’re finding it hard to get into a new practice, you might even consider looking for a geriatric nurse practitioner or advanced practice registered nurse to serve as your PCP, Fulmer says. The 2021 review in the International Journal of Nursing Studies Advances found good evidence that nurse-based care — including geriatric care — improved overall patient care and outcomes.

Copyright 2023, Consumer Reports Inc.

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Virtual or in person: Which kind of doctor's visit is better, and when it matters

By Michelle Andrews

March 6, 2023 / 5:00 AM EST / Kaiser Health News

When the COVID-19 pandemic swept the country in early 2020 and emptied doctors' offices nationwide, telemedicine was suddenly thrust into the spotlight. Patients and their physicians turned to virtual visits by video or phone rather than risk meeting face-to-face.

During the early months of the pandemic, telehealth visits for care exploded .

"It was a dramatic shift in one or two weeks that we would expect to happen in a decade," said Dr. Ateev Mehrotra , a professor at Harvard Medical School whose research focuses on telemedicine and other health care delivery innovations. "It's great that we served patients, but we did not accumulate the norms and [research] papers that we would normally accumulate so that we can know what works and what doesn't work."

Now, three years after the start of the pandemic, we're still figuring that out. Although telehealth use has moderated , it has found a role in many physician practices, and it is popular with patients.

More than any other field, behavioral health has embraced telehealth. Mental health conditions accounted for just under two-thirds of telehealth claims in November 2022, according to FairHealth , a nonprofit that manages a large database of private and Medicare insurance claims.

Telehealth appeals to a variety of patients because it allows them to simply log on to their computer and avoid the time and expense of driving, parking, and arranging child care that an in-person visit often requires.

But how do you gauge when to opt for a telehealth visit versus seeing your doctor in person? There are no hard-and-fast rules, but here's some guidance about when it may make more sense to choose one or the other.

If it's your first visit

"As a patient, you're trying to evaluate the physician, to see if you can talk to them and trust them," said Dr. Russell Kohl , a family physician and board member of the American Academy of Family Physicians. "It's hard to do that on a telemedicine visit."

Maybe your insurance has changed and you need a new primary care doctor or OB-GYN. Or perhaps you have a chronic condition and your doctor has suggested adding a specialist to the team. A face-to-face visit can help you feel comfortable and confident with their participation.

Sometimes an in-person first visit can help doctors evaluate their patients in nontangible ways, too. After a cancer diagnosis, for example, an oncologist might want to examine the site of a biopsy. But just as important, he might want to assess a patient's emotional state.

"A diagnosis of cancer is an emotional event; it's a life-changing moment, and a doctor wants to respond to that," said Dr. Arif Kamal , an oncologist and the chief patient officer at the American Cancer Society. "There are things you can miss unless you're sitting a foot or two away from the person."

Once it's clearer how the patient is coping and responding to treatment, that's a good time to discuss incorporating telemedicine visits.

If a physical exam seems necessary

This may seem like a no-brainer, but there are nuances. Increasingly, monitoring equipment that people can keep at home — a blood pressure cuff, a digital glucometer or stethoscope, a pulse oximeter to measure blood oxygen, or a Doppler monitor that checks a fetus's heartbeat — may give doctors the information they need, reducing the number of in-person visits required.

Someone's overall physical health may help tip the scales on whether an in-person exam is needed. A 25-year-old in generally good health is usually a better candidate for telehealth than a 75-year-old with multiple chronic conditions.

But some health complaints typically require an in-person examination, doctors said, such as abdominal pain, severe musculoskeletal pain, or problems related to the eyes and ears.

Abdominal pain could signal trouble with the gallbladder, liver, or appendix, among many other things.

"We wouldn't know how to evaluate it without an exam," said Dr. Ryan Mire , an internist who is president of the American College of Physicians.

Unless a doctor does a physical exam, too often children with ear infections receive prescriptions for antibiotics, said Mehrotra, pointing to a study he co-authored comparing prescribing differences between telemedicine visits, urgent care, and primary care visits.

In obstetrics, the pandemic accelerated a gradual shift to fewer in-person prenatal visits. Typically, pregnancy involves 14 in-person visits. Some models now recommend eight or fewer, said Dr. Nathaniel DeNicola, chair of telehealth for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. A study found no significant differences in rates of cesarean deliveries, preterm birth, birth weight, or admissions to the neonatal intensive care unit between women who received up to a dozen prenatal visits in person and those who received a mix of in-person and virtual visits.

Contraception is another area where less may be more, DeNicola said. Patients can discuss the pros and cons of different options virtually and may need to schedule a visit only if they want an IUD inserted.

If something is new, or changes

When a new symptom crops up, patients should generally schedule an in-person visit. Even if the patient has a chronic condition like diabetes or heart disease that is under control and care is managed by a familiar physician, sometimes things change. That usually calls for a face-to-face meeting too.

"I tell my patients, 'If it's new symptoms or a worsening of existing symptoms, that probably warrants an in-person visit,'" said Dr. David Cho , a cardiologist who chairs the American College of Cardiology's Health Care Innovation Council. Changes could include chest pain, losing consciousness, shortness of breath, or swollen legs.

When patients are sitting in front of him in the exam room, Cho can listen to their hearts and lungs and do an EKG if someone has chest pain or palpitations. He'll check their blood pressure, examine their feet to see if they're retaining fluid, and look at their neck veins to see if they are bulging .

But all that may not be necessary for a patient with heart failure, for example, whose condition is stable, he said. They can check their own weight and blood pressure at home, and a periodic video visit to check in may suffice.

Video check-ins are effective for many people whose chronic conditions are under control, experts said.

When someone is undergoing treatment for cancer, certain pivotal moments will require a face-to-face meeting, said Kamal, of the American Cancer Society.

"The cancer has changed or the treatment has changed," he said. "If they're going to stop chemotherapy, they need to be there in person."

And one clear recommendation holds for almost all situations: Even if a physician or office scheduler suggests a virtual visit, you don't have to agree to it.

"As a consumer, you should do what you feel comfortable doing," said Dr. Joe Kvedar , a professor at Harvard Medical School and immediate past board chairman of the American Telemedicine Association . "And if you really want to be seen in the office, you should make that case."

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.

A Beginner’s Guide to a Virtual Doctor’s Visit

Here's a step-by-step guide for patients as online health care services continue to grow.

This article is based on reporting that features expert sources.

A Beginner's Guide to Telehealth

Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced some big changes in the world of medicine, making telehealth much more widely available than ever before. Although the pandemic is continually shifting, it looks like the telehealth expansion is here to stay. Read on for a detailed overview of telehealth and what to expect from a virtual doctor's visit.

Close up of a father and daughter having a video call with their doctor

(Getty Images)

What Is Telehealth?

Though it may feel very 21st century, telehealth is not a new concept. With the advent of the telephone, the idea of telehealth soon emerged. An article in the Lancet medical journal describes the history of the telephone in medicine, starting with Alexendar Graham Bell's momentous invention in 1876, and the rapid awareness of telephone's potential to reduce unnecessary office or home visits.

As technology has continually developed since, the push to offer more services remotely has increased, and today, telehealth is exploding in popularity.

These are some commonly used terms:

  • Telemedicine. You may be seeing multiple terms related to the delivery of health services in a remote way. Telehealth is the more common term, but telemedicine is also used sometimes. Though they're technically different terms, these days they're used largely interchangeably by most health organizations, says Dr. Megan M. Chiarelli, a psychiatrist and medical director of behavioral health integration with the Facey Medical Group in Mission Hills, California.
  • Virtual visit. A virtual visit is another term that typically connotes "live, two-way audiovisual communication," Chiarelli says, "but there are many other ways we use technology to provide the right care at the right place and right time."
  • Remote patient monitoring. Remote patient monitoring uses digital tools to collect medical and other health data and transmit it to a health care provider.
  • MHealth. MHealth refers specifically to health care services delivered via a mobile device.
  • EHealth. EHealth is a catch-all term related to electronic-based health information and services.

William England, a former director of the Office for the Advancement of Telehealth in the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy at Health Resources & Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, says that while many of these terms are still in use, "somewhere in the mid-2000s, we started to call it all telehealth," which has become sort of an overarching term for all health care services that are delivered remotely.

What Services Can Be Provided Via Telehealth?

"Almost anything can be conducted" via a virtual visit , England says.

But certain types of visits may be more amenable to a telehealth model, says Dr. David R. Stukus, associate professor of pediatrics in the division of allergy and immunology at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. "Visits that don't rely heavily on detailed physical exams or in-office diagnostic testing are optimal for telemedicine. This includes behavioral health, follow-up visits for many chronic medical conditions and new patient visits where a detailed clinical history can provide sufficient information to offer an informed diagnosis and treatment plan."

Chiarelli adds that "the history the patient provides is always one of the most important pieces of a medical visit. With telemedicine, we can still gather all of the history and many important pieces of the examination." Labs, studies, a referral to a specialist or a face-to-face visit may still be necessary later, but that can come after the remote gathering of that important medical history .

Some situations where telehealth can be especially useful include:

  • Follow-up appointments . Primary care and urgent care where the provider is following up a previous visit or checking in with the patient to determine whether more direct care is necessary. If medications are needed, the prescriber may be able to send a prescription directly to your pharmacy.
  • Counseling and education . Services that require counseling and education, such as prenatal care and diabetes management .
  • Medication management . For people with chronic conditions that require prescription medication, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, a routine check-in is often necessary.
  • Behavioral health services . Mental health services and counseling are usually talk-based and typically require no hands-on care from the provider, making these services especially well-suited to remote delivery.
  • Health screening . In the current crisis, a virtual doctor's visit is a smart way to reduce the potential for transmission of infection. Many doctors and health care centers are offering remote screening options for COVID-19 , says Dr. Joseph C. Kvedar, vice president of connected health at Partners HealthCare and a professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School. "Checking if someone needs the test and following people who are quarantining with mild symptoms is mostly about asking questions," which lends itself well to a telehealth approach, he says. Other health screenings , such as hearing tests for kids and cognitive testing in older adults, may also be offered remotely.
  • Rural specialty care . England says that in some cases, which may be more common in rural settings, the patient will go into the office of their primary care provider and from there will connect via an audio-visual connection with a specialist provider – who may be in another hospital or health care center hundreds of miles away. This approach can extend the reach of providers who can't physically get to more rural locations and enable rural patients to more easily access specialist care at a larger, urban institution.

Dr. Alan H. Beyer, executive medical director of the Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Newport Beach, California, says that in light of the current pandemic, telehealth has been a good option for his practice. "Just because you are at home, injuries and falls can still occur. I've really enjoyed introducing telemedicine into our practice as we try to help patients that may not have a lot of options. It keeps many patients with minor orthopedic injuries out of the ER or urgent care."

It's still possible to collect important information regarding vital signs and other basic health indicators remotely, Stukus says. "A current weight using a typical scale is helpful. We can counsel patients on how to check their heart rate and can count respirations through video. Home blood pressure cuffs have been used for decades, and many adults with chronic conditions already have these available to use, or they can obtain if necessary," he says.

Even dentistry has some partial telehealth options, England says. There are some services that a hygienist can perform "with simple portable equipment that can be taken anywhere," and then a dentist can be patched in to meet with the patient via a video monitor.

Though telehealth is naturally devised for services that don't require a physical examination, there are still options for remote monitoring of patients.

How Devices Can Help

Particularly with diabetes care and monitoring, telehealth can be a good option for many patients, says Kellie Antinori-Lent, a diabetes clinical nurse specialist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center – Shadyside Hospital and immediate past president of the Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists. "Many blood glucose monitors have the capability to upload to the internet," she says, which allows your doctor or diabetes care specialist to keep an eye on your sugar levels remotely.

Other devices such as blood pressure cuffs, digital thermometers and even spirometers (devices that measure air flow for those with asthma , chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or other lung diseases ) "are all relatively inexpensive at the consumer level and can be connected to transmit data electronically," England says. These peripherals can help your doctor get nearly the same amount and quality of information regarding basic health markers as could be gleaned in an office visit.

Who Is Telehealth For?

Telehealth has long been an option for some patients who live in rural areas who would have to travel long distances to be seen in person by a provider. Because of the current COVID-19 pandemic , providers are now able to offer this type of delivery method to many more patients regardless of where they're located. For example, Beyer says that "as an orthopedic surgeon who is limiting practice hours and postponing all elective surgeries due to the virus, we are now seeing some patients via telemedicine." This is primarily being reserved for patients who need a check-up and some post-op visits.

It's not an option for all patients, he says. "New patient visits and certain joint movement problems, for example, are not well done by telemedicine as a physical examination is required. For those patients, we ask them to come into the office," Beyer says.

Is Telehealth Covered by Insurance?

This varies based on where you live and the kind of insurance you have, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has expanded virtual services. Many private insurers have also expanded what they'll cover, and many states have relaxed restrictions on reimbursing providers for delivery of remote services.

What Equipment Do I Need?

To get the most out of a remote visit with your doctor or health care provider, ideally you should have the following:

  • A high-speed internet connection.
  • Video access through a smartphone, tablet or computer.
  • Any app used by your provider to connect, which should be downloaded beforehand.
  • A phone, either a mobile phone or a landline if you have one that can be used as a backup option if the internet connection is lost during the virtual visit.

To connect with a doctor for a virtual visit, at a minimum you need a phone, but this is typically considered a phone consultation, not an actual telehealth visit. For a full telehealth visit, providers are looking to connect with you visually. This will require the internet, and a high-speed connection tends to work a lot better than a slower link. "Ideally a faster broadband connection provides a clearer picture without lag," Chiarelli says, "but we can get by with anything that doesn't drop the call."

Stukus agrees. "The connection should be strong enough to stream video, but it doesn't have to be the highest quality or speed available. If you can watch movies through your Wi-Fi connection, you have more than enough to get through a telemedicine visit."

"If you don't have that technology, you can still use the phone" to speak with your doctor, Antinori-Lent says. A phone line can be a good backup option if the video call drops or the technology otherwise doesn't work.

In addition to connecting via the phone or a video platform, "there are dozens of apps that are currently in use for telemedicine," Stukus says. "It's important for each patient to use the one that their personal medical provider is using on their system. They can all be easily accessed and downloaded onto any device."

Before your appointment, check with your provider about their preferred platform and for specific instructions for when and how to access that service. Most medical offices have someone on staff who can walk you through any technical issues you may be having.

How Can I Prepare for a Telehealth Visit?

Here are some tips and suggestions for things you can do ahead of time to help make your virtual visit the best it can be:

  • Make sure your paperwork is filled out. "We still need the same information regarding insurance and any forms normally filled out while sitting in the waiting room," Stukus says. Check with your doctor's office to be sure your paperwork is up-to-date and accurate beforehand.
  • Make sure your doctor has the information they need. Antinori-Lent says it's helpful to make sure that if you're going to be meeting with a provider for routine care, such as diabetes management, you forward your blood sugars and other information the doctor needs prior to the call. That way, the provider can have it in hand and can review it prior to the visit, she says. This saves time and helps focus the call on the most important aspects of managing your chronic condition.
  • Check with your insurance company. Because many rules surrounding telehealth have changed rapidly, it's best to double-check ahead of time with your health insurance provider that the service you're seeking to receive via a telehealth visit will be covered.
  • Prepare like you would for any other appointment. Chiarelli says you should prepare for a virtual visit just like you would any health care appointment by taking a moment to jot down questions you have or symptoms you want to discuss. She also recommends having "any recent home monitoring you have done, such as glucometer readings and blood pressure readings" on hand. It's also important to have a list of medications ready, or better yet, the medicines themselves, Antinori-Lent says. "That way, if you have the video aspect, you can actually show the provider the medication bottles," so that there's no mistaking what you're taking and at what dose.
  • Double-check your equipment. Check to make sure that your equipment is optimized. Check that the volume is up and camera access has been granted to the appropriate application before the call starts. "Make sure you're prepared a couple minutes before the visit so that technological issues don't delay your appointment," Chiarelli says.
  • Have a pen and paper ready. This is "to jot down recommendations the provider might have," Chiarelli says. Though some providers will email you a summary note after the visit, it's also helpful if you have taken your own notes during the call.
  • Think about the setting. Do your best to find a quiet, well-lit corner to have your visit. Don't sit outside, as there's always extra noise and potentially wind noise that will interfere with the call. Sitting outside or in a busy location also compromises the privacy of your visit. Avoid positioning yourself in front of a bright window, as that obscures the view the provider will have of your face. Position your device so that your face is centered in the middle of the screen and the webcam is at eye level, so that your doctor can see your eyes. Use a stand to keep the device still.
  • Consider having someone else join you. Depending on the type of visit you'll be having and what will be discussed, it might be helpful to have a family member sit in on the call with you to help take notes or to raise other concerns with the provider if you forget something.
  • Focus on the session. Just as you would during an office visit, eliminate distractions and interruptions during the virtual visit and give your provider your undivided attention. Shut off notifications on your cell phone and shut down apps that might create distractions or noise.

Stukus says that while it might seem daunting at first or a bit unusual, "once people get past the easy technological hurdles and participate in their first visit, many will prefer these types of visits moving forward."

Antinori-Lent agrees. "I would encourage people to try it. I was a little hesitant too," she says, while adding that telehealth can be a good complement to in-person support. "I have a dietitian colleague who asks to see the box of rice or whatever the patient is talking about. The patient can just walk into the kitchen, and then they look at the label together," she says.

What Happens If I Need More Direct Care?

For visits such as check-ups and post-op care, Beyer says that "if we suspect something is seriously wrong, we will ask the patient to come into the office for an appointment."

Kvedar, a dermatologist, says that for many common skin complaints, he can conduct the necessary visual check via a remote link up. But sometimes there's a question about whether a particular lesion or rash needs to be investigated further. "If they were in front of me, I'd take a skin biopsy right there because that's prudent." But that can't be done in a remote environment. Therefore, he'll set up an in-office appointment for that biopsy.

In other instances, some doctors may refer you to a local urgent care center or emergency department or tell you to call 911. "We want to ensure you stay safe and healthy, so please don't ignore or delay symptoms for which you otherwise would seek care," Chiarelli says.

Concerns about what happens if you end up needing more intensive care than can be provided remotely is "one of the slight challenges" of telehealth, England says. And it's important that the doctor offering the services have "a good handle on local resources where they can send patients," he says. It's a good idea for you to familiarize yourself with local emergency and urgent care resources, too.

What About Privacy and Security?

Despite the urgency of the pandemic that has loosened some restrictions around telehealth services, privacy and protecting your medical information is still a major concern. Your health information is private and should remain so. "We care a lot about privacy," Kvedar says.

"We're not using TikTok or Facebook," Antinori-Lent notes, but platforms like FaceTime, Zoom and Skype are in wide use currently by many providers. "During this crisis, providers are using all kinds of modalities," Kvedar says. Your provider, who may be using a platform designed specifically for telehealth – such as or Teledoc – will let you know which platform they use, and you'll be sent a link and instructions to connect via that system.

"Depending on your relationship with your doctor, you could ask her, 'I like FaceTime. Is that OK with you?'" Kvedar says. The key is to find a means of connection that works for both patient and provider.

Is Telehealth Here to Stay?

It's good to get comfortable with telehealth, as recent findings suggest that virtual visits are indeed here to stay:

  • Only 43% of health centers were capable of providing telemedicine in 2019, compared with the 95% of health centers that used telemedicine during the pandemic, according to this Feb. 2021 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report .
  • With employee health plans, 53% of large employers expect to implement more virtual care options in 2021, with telehealth as their top initiative.
  • Among hospitals and health care systems, the vast majority – nearly 95% – say that telehealth is a long-term strategy beyond COVID-19, according to the 2020 Telehealth Benchmark Survey .

For her part, Antinori-Lent says that she feels "very strongly about relationship-based care. Human interaction is powerful." She feels there's a certain something that's gained by meeting with someone in person. "The cornerstone of good care is having a relationship with your provider," she adds.

However, telehealth can be a helpful addition to a regular in-person practice and can provide strong continuity of care, particularly in the midst of this pandemic. Meeting with a provider remotely certainly beats not meeting at all.

"It's the next best thing to being there," Antinori-Lent acknowledges. And what's more, "it does allow a level of efficiency – if you need to talk to your doctor about something simple, with telemedicine you can connect a lot more quickly and efficiently. There's also a lot of cost savings and a reduced carbon footprint" associated with not traveling for every doctor's visit.

Some inpatient care is being phased back in as COVID-19 is getting under control. Still, it seems likely that some of these more routine visits will continue to be offered remotely even after the pandemic subsides.

"It'll be interesting to see what happens," England says. "Now that we know that doctors can easily do electronic health calls, what will we expect in the future? It's an exciting time for telehealth and good that we have the technology to do this."

For the time being, Kvedar urges some patience among patients. "Every single software platform and doctor and health service is getting a huge spike in demand, and we're bringing people on these platforms who weren't planning on it." It's a process, and it's going to take a little time until all the kinks get worked out. "I would say, be patient with us. We have your best interests and best care at heart."

Stukus adds that "telemedicine is a fantastic way to provide high level care to patients who live far away, cannot be seen in person for whatever reason. COVID-19 may have accelerated our wide-scale adoption of telemedicine services, but this will not go away once we resume normal activities – it's here to stay."

Where Can I Get More Information?

The National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers has created a page of additional information and resources specific to the COVID-19 pandemic to help guide you through any additional questions or concerns you may have regarding telehealth services.

The Hawaii State Department of Health has also created an informative video about telehealth for patients. It provides a thorough overview of what patients can expect from a telehealth visit .

12 Common Medical Emergencies

A concerned middle-aged woman talks on the phone with an older woman in the background.

The U.S. News Health team delivers accurate information about health, nutrition and fitness, as well as in-depth medical condition guides. All of our stories rely on multiple, independent sources and experts in the field, such as medical doctors and licensed nutritionists. To learn more about how we keep our content accurate and trustworthy, read our  editorial guidelines .

Antinori-Lent is a diabetes clinical nurse specialist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center-Shadyside Hospital, in Pittsburgh. She is also president of the Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists.

Beyer is executive medical director of the Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Newport Beach, California.

Chiarelli is a psychiatrist and medical director of behavioral health integration with the Facey Medical Group in Mission Hills, California.

England is director of the Office for the Advancement of Telehealth in the the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy at Health Resources & Services Administration.

Kvedar is vice president of Connected Health at Partners HealthCare and a professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School. He is also president of the American Telehealth Association.

Stukus is associate professor of pediatrics in the division of allergy and immunology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Tags: Coronavirus , health care , doctors , hospitals , medical technology , technology , telehealth

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Ambulatory Care Use and Physician office visits

Data are for the U.S.

  • Percent of adults who had a visit with a doctor or other health care professional in the past year: 83.4% (2022)

Source: Interactive Summary Health Statistics for Adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2019-2022

  • Percent of children who had a visit with a doctor or other health care professional in the past year: 93.9% (2022)

Source: Interactive Summary Health Statistics for Children: National Health Interview Survey, 2019-2022

  • Number of visits: 1.0 billion
  • Number of visits per 100 persons: 320.7
  • Percent of visits made to primary care physicians: 50.3%

Source: National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: 2019 National Summary Tables, table 1 [PDF – 865 KB]

Related FastStats

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  • Characteristics of Office-based Physician Visits by Age, 2019 [PDF – 411 KB]
  • Urgent Care Center and Retail Health Clinic Utilization Among Adults: United States, 2019
  • Characteristics of Office-based Physician Visits, 2018
  • Urban-rural Differences in Visits to Office-based Physicians by Adults With Hypertension: United States, 2014–2016 [PDF – 276 KB]
  • Physician Office Visits at Which Benzodiazepines Were Prescribed: Findings From 2014–2016 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey [PDF – 376 KB]
  • Characteristics of Asthma Visits to Physician Offices in the United States: 2012–2015 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey [PDF – 876 KB]
  • Mental Health-related Physician Office Visits by Adults Aged 18 and Over: United States, 2012–2014
  • Ambulatory Health Care Data
  • National Health Interview Survey
  • American Medical Association

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Bill Of The Month

She talked about depression at a checkup — and got billed for two visits.

Julie Appleby

Stephanie O'Neill

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Christine Rogers of Wake Forest, North Carolina, was asked to complete a mental health questionnaire as part of her annual physical. A brief conversation with her doctor landed her with a charge for a separate consultation. Kate Medley/KFF Health News hide caption

Christine Rogers of Wake Forest, North Carolina, was asked to complete a mental health questionnaire as part of her annual physical. A brief conversation with her doctor landed her with a charge for a separate consultation.

Christine Rogers of Wake Forest, North Carolina, didn't hesitate when she was asked to fill out a routine mental health questionnaire during a checkup last November.

Her answers on the form led her primary care doctor to ask about depression and her mood, and Rogers said she answered honestly.

"It was a horrible year. I lost my mom," Rogers said she told her physician.

After what Rogers estimates was a five-minute conversation about depression, the visit wrapped up. She said her doctor did not recommend treatment nor refer her for counseling.

"It's not like anything I told her triggered, 'Oh my goodness, I'm going to prescribe you medication,'" she said.

Then the bill came.

The patient: Christine Rogers, 60, a public relations/communications worker who is insured by Cigna Healthcare through her job.

Medical services: An annual wellness visit, which included typical blood tests, as well as a depression screening and discussion with a physician.

Service provider: WakeMed Physician Practices, part of WakeMed Health & Hospitals, a Raleigh-based, tax-exempt system with three acute care hospitals, outpatient centers, and hundreds of physicians across a range of specialties.

Total bill: $487, which included a $331 wellness visit and a separate $156 charge for what was billed as a 20- to 29-minute consultation with her physician. Her insurer paid $419.93, leaving Rogers with a $67.07 charge related to the consultation.

Bill of the Month is a crowdsourced investigation by KFF Health News and NPR that dissects and explains medical bills. Do you have an interesting medical bill you want to share with us? Tell us about it !

What gives: Rogers said the bill came as a surprise because she knows annual wellness checks are typically covered without patient cost sharing as preventive care under the Affordable Care Act. And as part of an annual physical, patients routinely fill out a health questionnaire, which may cover mental health topics.

But there is a catch: Not all care that may be provided during a wellness visit counts as no-cost preventive care under federal guidelines. If a health issue arises during a checkup that prompts discussion or treatment — say, an unusual mole or heart palpitations — that consult can be billed separately, and the patient may owe a copayment or deductible charge for that part of the visit.

A mom owed nearly $102,000 for her son's stay in a state mental health hospital

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A mom owed nearly $102,000 for her son's stay in a state mental health hospital.

In Rogers' case, a brief chat with her doctor about mental health triggered an additional visit charge — and a bill she was expected to pay.

Rogers said she didn't broach the subject of depression during her checkup. She was asked when she checked in to fill out the questionnaire, she said — and then the doctor brought it up during her exam.

The Affordable Care Act requires insurers to cover a variety of preventive services without a patient paying out-of-pocket, with the idea that such care might prevent problems or find them early, when they are more treatable and less costly.

The federal government lists dozens of services of what is considered no-cost-sharing preventive care for adults and children, which includes such things as cancer screenings, certain vaccinations, and other services recommended by either of two federal agencies or the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent group of experts in disease prevention.

Depression screening is covered as preventive care for adults, including when they're pregnant or in the postpartum phase.

Rogers requested an itemized bill from her doctor's practice, which is part of WakeMed Physician Practices. It showed a charge for the wellness visit (free for her), as well as a separate charge for a 20- to 29-minute office visit. Earlier, Rogers said, she had discussed the initial bill with the office manager at her doctor's office, who told her the separate charge, roughly $67, was for discussing her questionnaire results with her doctor.

For Rogers, it wasn't so much about the $67 she owed for the visit, as it was a matter of principle. The separate charge, she said, was "disingenuous" because she was specifically asked about her mental health.

Also, annual physicals are intended to nip health problems in the bud, which sometimes requires a few more minutes of attention – whether it's to discuss symptoms of depression or palpate an abdomen for digestive issues

Some experts like Sabrina Corlette say the charge seemed a bit over-the-top: Depression screening "is now a recommended part of the annual physical," said Corlette, a research professor and co-director of the Center on Health Insurance Reforms at Georgetown University. "Implicit in that is someone looks at answers and makes an assessment, and you should not be charged for that."

Beyond the confusion of being charged for what she thought would be free preventive care, Rogers wondered how the bill was calculated: Her conversation with her doctor about depression did not last that long, she said.

A 20- to 29-minute-visit billing code is commonly used in primary care, reflecting not just the time spent, but also the complexity of the condition or diagnosis, said Yalda Jabbarpour, a family physician in Washington, D.C. She also directs the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies, which researches primary care in the U.S.

Billing codes exist for other, shorter time frames, though those are rarely used except for the most minimal of services, such as a quick question about a test result, she said.

Physicians said Rogers did the right thing, emphasizing that patients should be honest with their doctors during preventive visits — and not keep silent about issues because they are concerned about potential cost sharing.

"If you have a condition like depression, not only does it affect mental health, but it can have significant impact on your medical health overall," said Stephen Gillaspy, senior director for health and health care financing at the American Psychological Association.

The resolution: Confused by getting billed for a visit she thought would have no charge, Rogers initially called her doctor's office and spoke with the office manager, who told her the claim submitted to her insurer was coded correctly for her visit. She then called her insurer to question whether a mistake had been made. She said her insurer said no, agreeing that the physician had billed properly.

Rogers paid the bill.

After being contacted by KFF Health News, and with Rogers' permission, the WakeMed health system investigated the bill and said it was handled correctly.

"We do split bills when a service is provided that is above and beyond the preventive components of a physical — in this case, beyond a positive screening for depression," WakeMed spokesperson Kristin Kelly said in an email.

By contrast, Cigna Healthcare, Rogers' insurer, sent her a new explanation of benefits statement after being contacted by KFF Health News. The EOB showed Cigna had zeroed out any cost to Rogers associated with the visit.

Cigna spokesperson Meaghan MacDonald, in a written statement, said the "wellness visit was initially billed incorrectly with two separate visit codes, and has now been resubmitted correctly so there is no cost-share for Ms. Rogers. We are working with the physician to ensure she is refunded appropriately."

The insurer's website says Cigna covers a variety of preventive services without copayment and encourages doctors to counsel patients about depression.

Not long after receiving the new EOB, Rogers said she received a refund of $67.07 from WakeMed.

She received chemo in two states. Why did it cost so much more in Alaska?

She received chemo in two states. Why did it cost so much more in Alaska?

The takeaway: While many preventive services are covered under the ACA, the nuances of when a patient pays can be complicated and open to interpretation. So, it is not uncommon for medical practices to narrowly interpret the term "preventive service."

That creates a billing minefield for patients. If you respond on a questionnaire that you sometimes experience heartburn or headaches, most physicians will inquire about your responses to assess the need for treatment. But should that come with an extra charge? Other patients have written to KFF Health News and NPR expressing frustration over being billed for conversations during a checkup.

Additional time spent during a wellness exam discussing or diagnosing a condition or prescribing medication can be considered beyond preventive care and result in separate charges. But if you receive a bill for a preventive service that you expected would be free, request an itemized bill with billing codes. If something seems off, ask the physician's office.

If you're billed for time spent on extra consultation, question it. You know how long the provider spent discussing your health issue better than a billing representative does. Next, reach out to your insurer to protest.

Most important, be honest with your primary care provider during your annual physical.

They billed Medicare late for his anesthesia. He went to collections for a $3,000 tab

They billed Medicare late for his anesthesia. He went to collections for a $3,000 tab

Emmarie Huetteman of KFF Health News edited the digital story, and Taunya English of KFF Health News edited the audio story. NPR's Will Stone edited the audio and digital story.

KFF Health News , formerly known as Kaiser Health News (KHN), is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues and is one of the core operating programs at KFF — the independent source for health policy research, polling, and journalism.

  • depression screening
  • Preventive care
  • primary care
  • mental health

The Joint Commission

  • Prepare for Doctor Visits and Make a List of Questions

Prepare a list of questions and symptoms before you visit your doctor or go for a procedure or to the hospital. A doctor won’t be able to answer your questions if you don’t ask.

Bring a List of Questions

Do you ever get home from a doctor visit and suddenly think of a burning question you wish you’d asked during your visit an hour earlier? This is the case for a lot of people. It helps to think ahead of time about the reason for your visit and what you hope to get out of it. Talk it over with a friend or family member. You may find yourself with a list of questions. Bring them to your appointment and jot down the answers.

Learn more in this Take 5 podcast as Lisa DiBlasi Moorehead discusses why it’s important for a patient to play an active role in their care and be open and honest about symptoms, what to bring with to provider visits and what do to after a visit. Lisa DiBlasi Moorehead, EdD, MSN, RN, CENP is the Associate Nurse Executive in the division of Accreditation and Certification Operations at The Joint Commission.

Preparing for Virtual Visits

In today’s new normal, preparing for a doctor’s visit may look a little different and require additional preparation. As COVID-19 increases social distancing across the U.S., it’s no surprise that virtual medical appointments have seen a huge spike in popularity. Telemedicine isn’t new, but it’s been utilized more than ever during this stressful time of quarantine and self-isolation. Here are some ways to plan for a successful virtual visit.

In Person Visits

Health care facilities, such as hospitals, doctors’ offices, surgery centers and all sites of care are reopening as appropriate, and as state and local conditions allow. Precautions are being taken to ensure your care is safe and that you are protected. Patients should have confidence in seeking care, and trust that your health care providers are doing their best to keep you, your family, and your community safe. Therefore, you should not postpone necessary care or preventative care such as immunizations or cancer screening. Do not hesitate to reach out to your provider if you have any questions about when to seek treatment.

To prevent you from getting COVID-19, or giving it to others, you may be asked to do the following by your provider:

  • Wear a face covering. This helps limit your risk of getting or spreading COVID-19.
  • Avoid crowded waiting areas. Some practices may require patients to check in for their appointment from their car. You may be asked to wait in your car until your visit. Waiting rooms should have chairs spaced far apart to keep you and others safe.
  • Limit visitors or people who go to your appointment with you. Be prepared that you may not be allowed to bring anyone with you and if you typically accompany an elderly family member, you may be asked to wait in the car. Limiting the number of people limits your exposure. Visitors should also wear a face covering.
  • Screening before entering a facility. Your temperature may be taken, and you may be asked to use hand sanitizer and wear gloves. The office may call you a few days before your appointment to go over some screening questions. This means asking questions about your possible risk factors of having COVID-19. They may repeat these questions during your visit. You may also be asked additional information over the phone to reduce the amount of paperwork needed at the time of visit.

Discuss with your provider if you should get tested before going in for care. In some cases, such as before surgery, childbirth, or a procedure, it may be necessary to be tested for COVID-19.

Resources and Tools:

  • Share symptoms with your doctor (STARS tool)
  • Speak Up About Your Care
  • Speak Up At the Doctor’s Office
  • Visit the TakeCharge website
  • Take 5: The TakeCHARGE Campaign’s 5 Steps to Safer Health Care – Preparing for Provider Visits
  • Understand and Complete Your Advance Directives
  • Keep a Record of Your Medical History and Current Medications
  • Prevent Infections and Ask Caregivers to Wash Their Hands
  • Use an Advocate or Be an Advocate for Others

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Does Medicare Cover Doctor Visits? Understanding Your Medical Benefits

doctor visits or doctor's visits

Does Medicare Cover Doctor Visits?

Yes, Medicare covers doctor’s visits if they’re medically necessary. If you have Original Medicare, visits are covered by your Part B insurance. Costs can vary depending on the type of visit and whether or not your doctor accepts the Medicare-approved amount for payment. Knowing what Medicare does and doesn’t cover before your next visit can help you better plan your medical expenses.

Table of Contents

The importance of regular checkups.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that adults aged 65 see their doctors for a routine checkup regularly; at least once a year. Unfortunately, many people aren’t taking that advice, as 44% of people are overdue for a regular checkup .

During these checkups, a doctor can assess you for any emerging medical issues, identify your risk of future problems, and help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. A study on the impact of routine general screenings found that patients with regular health checks tend to have increased chronic disease recognition and treatment . They also received more preventive services and had better patient-reported outcomes.

What Types of Doctor Visits and Outpatient Services Does Medicare Cover?

Medicare covers many different kinds of doctor visits. You must have an underlying health condition or risk factor to be eligible for many of these services. Usually, Medicare pays for 80% of covered visits, meaning you pay the other 20% . Here’s a closer look at the types of doctor visits and outpatient services that Medicare typically covers.

Preventative Services

Preventive services help you catch health problems early on before they’re an issue. Medicare covers dozens of preventive and screening services if you have certain risk factors, including:

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm screenings
  • Cardiovascular disease screenings
  • Colorectal cancer screenings
  • Diabetes screenings
  • Flu and vaccine shots
  • HIV screenings
  • Nutrition therapy services
  • Obesity screenings and counseling

Medicare also covers an annual wellness visit. This is a chance for your provider to take routine measurements, ask you about your family and medical history, and address any concerns you might have about your health. You may also receive a cognitive assessment to check for warning signs of dementia.

Medical Services

During a doctor’s visit, if your provider recommends you get a certain test or procedure, Medicare Part B might cover the bill. These services have to be medically necessary, meaning they’re needed to diagnose or treat a disease, condition, illness, or injury. They differ from preventive services because they’re done when a doctor suspects you have a certain condition or wants to treat you for a condition.

Some of the medical services that may be covered after your doctor’s recommendation include:

  • Clinical laboratory tests
  • Colonoscopies
  • Dialysis services and supplies
  • Fecal occult blood tests
  • Opioid use disorder treatment services
  • Prosthetic devices
  • Sleep studies

Specialist Visits

Sometimes, you might need care from a specialist provider. Medicare offers coverage for these types of outpatient services as well. For example, if you need mental health care , your Part B benefits cover one depression screening per year, individual and group psychotherapy, and family counseling.

You may also be covered for other types of therapy, like physical therapy , occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology therapy, as long as your doctor prescribes it. Certain types of specialists, such as dentists, podiatrists, optometrists, or chiropractors, may be covered by Medicare if you have an underlying condition that requires treatment.

What Kinds of Doctor Visits Does Medicare Not Cover?

Medicare does not cover every type of doctor visit. For example, routine physical checkups are not covered unless you have a specific issue. Also, routine eye examinations and dental services usually aren’t covered. There are a few exceptions, like if you have an eye disease like glaucoma or need a tooth extraction to prepare for radiation treatment.

Other non-covered services include:

  • Hearing aid examinations
  • Chiropractor visits not involving manual manipulation of the spine
  • Routine foot care
  • Follow-up care after a hospital stay for a non-covered service
  • Massage therapy

Wellness Visits

In contrast to physicals , Medicare recipients are entitled to an annual wellness visit. This is a yearly visit that is covered under Medicare Part B . During this visit, the doctor will review the patient’s medical history and current health status, check vital signs, and assess the patient’s risk factors for certain diseases.

The doctor will also develop a personalized prevention plan that includes recommendations for preventive screenings, vaccinations, and lifestyle changes.

How Medicare Covers Your Visits to the Doctor

Your Medicare Part B benefits cover your visits to the doctor. However, you must pay your annual deductible before your services or visits are covered. For 2023, this is $226. This isn’t an additional fee; it’s the amount you pay in covered medical bills before Medicare kicks in.

Medicare has an established rate it pays out for each covered service it offers. If a doctor agrees to this rate, it’s called accepting assignment. When you go to providers that accept assignment, the Medicare copay for doctor visits is 20%. Going to providers that accept assignment can mean lower out-of-pocket costs for you.

If your provider refuses to accept the Medicare-approved amount, they can charge up to 15% more . You would be responsible for paying this 15% difference.

In some cases, providers opt out of Medicare entirely. This means Medicare doesn’t pay anything toward a visit; you would have to pay 100% of the costs yourself. The exception is if you’re in an emergency.

How Medigap Coverage Helps

Medigap plans are add-on medical supplemental insurance that can help you pay for your Medicare copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. You pay a monthly premium ; in return, you might pay less on some of your medical bills.

A few plans can help you pay for doctor visit costs. Plan K can cover 50% of your Part B coinsurance, while Plan L can cover 75%. The following plans cover your Part B coinsurance at 100%:

Unfortunately, new Medigap plans no longer cover the Part B deductible, so you must pay that on your own.

How Medicare Advantage Covers Your Visits to the Doctor

Some people choose to enroll in a private Medicare plan called Medicare Advantage. Sometimes called Part C, Medicare Advantage plans are managed by private insurers and follow strict rules to ensure you get the same level of coverage as you would with Original Medicare. 

However, many plans provide extra benefits. For example, some plans may include coverage for dental services , massage therapy, and chiropractor services.

Additionally, costs work differently with Part C plans. Each plan has its rules on your deductible, copayments, and coinsurance. However, one crucial difference is that these plans come with an out-of-pocket limit, the maximum amount you must pay in medical bills each year before your expenses are covered at 100%. Original Medicare doesn’t have an out-of-pocket max, meaning you keep paying copayments no matter what.

Medicare Coverage of Telehealth

Telehealth lets you receive medical services at your home through video or audio technology. For example, you might get on a video call with your doctor to ask about specific symptoms. Through telehealth, doctors can examine, diagnose, and treat you like they would at an in-person visit. If necessary, they can also prescribe medications.

Like in-person doctor visits, Medicare covers telehealth visits at 80% after you pay your Part B deductible. This means you pay 20% of the cost of each visit. However, this coverage is temporary until December 31, 2024. After that time, to be eligible to receive telehealth services, you must meet one or more of these criteria:

  • Live in a rural area without easy access to healthcare
  • Have monthly end-stage renal disease visits
  • Need a diagnosis, evaluation, or treatment of symptoms from an acute stroke, mental health disorder, or substance use disorder

Medicare Coverage of Doctor-prescribed Medication

Original Medicare usually doesn’t cover prescription medication. There are a few exceptions if you have specific medical conditions, but for many people, an easy way to get medication coverage is with Part D.

Medicare Part D is an add-on plan that specifically covers the drugs your doctor prescribes. Private insurance companies manage these plans, so each differs. For example, every plan comes with a unique formulary; the list of prescription drugs it covers. 

Another option is to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. These usually bundle prescription drug coverage, so you don’t need to deal with multiple plans. MA plans also bundle Medicare Part A and B benefits.

What Are Your Options If Medicare Does Not Cover a Doctor You Need?

It’s possible that Medicare might not offer coverage for a doctor you want to see. If that’s the case, you have several options at your disposal.

Ask for a Referral to Another Provider

One option is to ask your primary care provider for a referral to another in-network provider. Chances are, they have a good network of doctors to recommend based on your specific needs.

Pay the Costs Out of Pocket

If you really want to see a specific doctor, you can pay for your visit out of pocket. Sometimes, doctors are willing to negotiate lower rates for patients without insurance.

Switch to a Medicare Advantage Plan

If you need to go to an out-of-network doctor regularly and not for a 1-time appointment, then it might be a good idea to consider switching to a Medicare Advantage plan. MA plans generally have a wider coverage network than Medicare and might be in-network with the provider you want to see.

What This Means For You

Medicare covers many doctor’s visits, from physical therapy sessions to annual wellness visits. It typically pays 80% of each visit. That leaves you with 20% coinsurance. 

If you go to the doctor often, these costs can add up, so you may want to consider adding Medigap insurance. Another possible option is a Medicare Advantage plan with more comprehensive coverage. Medicare Advantage plans can cover additional visits like massage therapy or dental services.

Whether you’re sticking with Original Medicare or exploring other options, do your research before any doctor visit so you know what to expect regarding cost.

You’re just a few steps away from seeing your Medicare plan options.

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5 Ways to Make the Most of a Doctor’s Appointment Right Now

By Bonnie Darves

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It’s Monday at 11 a.m., and you have a visit set for 3 p.m. with your primary physician . You plan to ask your doctor about a recent knee injury and intermittent headaches, but you only mentioned knee pain when you made the appointment. You’ve put a reminder note in your cellphone to also mention the headaches, but that’s as far as you’ve gotten.

What’s wrong here? For one, you’ve only given your doctor part of the picture, and that means you’ll spend the first few minutes of the visit filling in the details before you and your doctor can start discussing a diagnosis and care plan. Second, the office is likely preparing for a single-issue visit and has allotted your doctor’s time accordingly.

Whether you’re making an appointment for your annual wellness check or a new health issue, preparing yourself—and the practice staff—in advance can help make the difference between a satisfying, productive medical visit and a frustrating one. Below, you’ll find some guidance for making the most of your doctor’s visit —whether it’s in person or virtual.

1. Think big picture about your health, not just your immediate needs.

Preparing a list of your health concerns for an annual visit or writing down details about a bothersome new symptom are good starting points. It can also be helpful to perform a brief health self-assessment to prioritize your medical concerns, says John Wasson , M.D., emeritus professor of community and family medicine and longtime researcher with the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Dr. Wasson helped to create the What Matters Index at How’s Your Health , a brief confidential questionnaire meant to help people identify various potential issues to discuss with their doctors.

Thinking through your overall health prior to your appointment in addition to your specific concerns can help increase your health-confidence level, which Dr. Wasson points to as an important aspect of navigating medical care. Health confidence is an indicator of how capable patients feel at managing their health conditions . Research has shown that higher health-confidence levels improve the engagement of patients in their care and the communication between doctor and patient during visits. Health confidence doesn’t exist in a vacuum—many factors can impact it, including your socioeconomic status and the quality of the care you receive. But spending time thinking about your health before your appointment may help you increase your health confidence and better advocate for your needs.

2. Brief the medical staff on your needs so they can allot enough time for your visit.

Most physician practices set aside an amount of time for your appointment that reflects the visit’s expected “complexity,” in health care terminology. An annual or preventive visit might be scheduled for 30 to 45 minutes, for instance, and a problem recheck—to see how a wound is healing or whether antibiotics knocked out an infection—for 10 to 15 minutes, Dr. Wasson explains. A new-problem visit, when the patient has requested an appointment for perhaps a skin rash or a possible urinary tract infection, might be allocated 15 or 20 minutes. A third type of visit is transactional—you’re going in for a test or procedure—and its length varies depending on the test or procedure in question. “If you use the What Matters Index, and you know how much time is allotted for your visit, then you might be able to detect and remedy a mismatch before you get there,” Dr. Wasson says.

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It’s helpful to have some sense of what goes on behind the scenes in your doctor’s office if possible so that you can request the right type of visit. “Some organizations place constraints on the amount of time providers are given with each patient,” Matthew Goldman , M.D., a family medicine specialist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, tells SELF. “Ideally, the more time the better. But because a lot of people are often seeking care from a single provider at a time, constraints must be placed to avoid long wait times.”

To avoid a mismatch between the practice’s expectations and your own, Dr. Goldman suggests preparing a list of concerns, prioritized by what’s most pressing, that you want your doctor to address. Ideally, you would share that information in advance with the scheduler or in a secure message via the online portal, if you have access to one. That helps ensure that you get the attention you need and deserve, Dr. Goldman says, by making the encounter as efficient as possible.

Even if you’re not able to share your list of concerns with the practice staff in advance, make sure you know how long your visit is supposed to be. “It’s helpful for the patient to ask, how long is this visit?” Mathew Devine , D.O., associate medicine professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York, and medical director of Highland Family Medicine, tells SELF. “They know they’re supposed to arrive at 11:45, but does that mean the visit is 15 minutes or 20 or 45 minutes? Patients should be aware of that.”

3. If possible, be extremely detailed when you brief the practice staff.

At a typical doctor’s office, the front-desk staff, nurses, and medical assistants are all key players in queueing up your visit. So let the staff help you by providing them as much detail as possible.

“By letting the schedulers, medical assistant, and nurses know what’s going on ahead of the visit, the physician has time to review the chart and focus on potential causes—medications or previous medical history, for example—that might be contributing to the patient’s concerns,” Dr. Goldman tells SELF. “I suggest that patients dedicate time to writing out their concerns and then, if possible, elaborate on each concern. Create a timeline or big picture of when the issue started and the treatments you’ve tried.”

The better informed the doctor is, the better the visit may go. Dr. Devine describes an “A+” experience involving a patient who’d been in an accident. The patient was managing several different health care providers and services, and the day before her visit, she sent, through the portal, an update on how she was doing and what she wanted to talk about in the visit. “I have the update and the agenda, so once we get in the room, I’m cooking,” Dr. Devine says. “It’s amazing when patients are prepared like that.” But it’s also unusual; in his experience, only 10% of patients prepare and bring a list to the visit. There are many valid reasons why it might not be possible for you to provide that kind of detailed update beforehand, such as a lack of time. But if you’re able to do this, it can be really helpful.

If the visit will be virtual , preparation is especially crucial. Try to make sure you have all pertinent information on hand and available to the doctor in advance. This includes not only your medications and a timeline of your concerns but also images of the area you’re having an issue with—if that’s applicable and doable. Ideally, it helps if you also access the virtual platform before the scheduled visit start time to make sure it's working smoothly, Dr. Goldman tells SELF. “Technical glitches can be a challenge, so ensuring a working connection, camera, and access to the application before the visit starts can help prevent issues when it is time for the visit,” he says.

4. Understand that your visit agenda and the doctor’s might differ.

If you show up with an eight-item list, the doctor might not be able to address all your concerns in one visit. Also, keep in mind that the doctor will want to focus on any potentially serious issue first. “Sometimes, my patient’s number one problem they want to talk about is different than mine,” Dr. Devine says. The patient might be worried about a spot on her skin that he can tell isn’t cancerous , he explains, but he wants to start with the unintended weight loss that the patient mentioned in the portal before the visit. “I want to make sure the patient gets to talk about their agenda items, but there are some things where we have to meet in the middle,” he says.

If the patient has 12 things on their list, Dr. Devine resets expectations. “I say, ‘I see that you have a lot of things you want to talk about, but we can probably only talk about three to five in this visit. Which things are really important to you that you want to make sure we talk about today?’” he says. “Then I pick a few things that are important to me to address, and we go from there.” If you’re not able to fit it all into one visit, ask your doctor if you can address the remaining issues in a subsequent one.

5. Be prepared to share everything that concerns you upfront.

There’s a phenomenon in physician-patient encounters, the “hand on the doorknob.” That’s when the doctor thinks the visit has concluded and is getting ready to leave the room, but the patient raises an issue they haven’t previously divulged. When that happens, it’s problematic for both parties. The “by the way” problem might be an important health issue that should have been addressed early in the visit. Or the doctor may simply be out of time. Either way, the situation can make for a less than satisfying visit.

Dr. Devine has developed a method for preventing that dilemma. At the start of the visit, he acknowledges the patient’s list, but then asks: Is there anything else? “If I don’t do that, I risk the hand on the doorknob,” he tells SELF. Even if your doctor doesn’t ask that type of question, try to remember how helpful it can be to bring up all of your concerns at the start of the visit instead of saving some for the end.

To ensure that your doctor’s visit is comprehensive, it’s also important to be prepared to discuss anything that’s concerning you—even something sensitive like possible exposure to sexually transmitted infections , Dr. Goldman advises. “These topics can be difficult to discuss for many potential reasons. I encourage patients to gather information on the topic to gain insight on potential causes, testing, and treatment options,” he says. “Oftentimes the office can provide this kind of information beforehand. Having a better understanding often helps reduce anxiety and stress.” If you want to do some online research into a health issue you’re having before you go to the doctor’s office, make sure you only use reliable sources such as the Mayo Clinic Symptom Checker , Dr. Wasson advises. (Or that you rely only on resources that draw from those kinds of sources.) It’s also worth asking if the practice can provide or direct you to information to review.

Finally, if you leave the office (or sign off from your appointment) and realize you’ve forgotten to ask about an issue, that’s okay. Get back in touch with your doctor’s office by calling or sending a message online. “That’s a great use for the portal. If you’re awake at 3 a.m. thinking about something you forgot, and you’re not having the worst chest pain of your life, send a note—and the nurse or doctor will get back to you,” Dr. Devine says. “Just remember that the portal isn’t for emergencies.”

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Why Do So Many Men Avoid Doctor’s Visits?

Experts share tips for getting over the resistance.

An outstretched hand is holding a tiny male figurine wearing a suit and tie; the figurine is standing inside of the bottom half of a ceramic lion; the top half (head) of the lion is detached and next to the man perched on the hand; the person with the hand is wearing a blue shirt and a white jacket over it to suggest the person is a doctor

By Jancee Dunn

Last year, my husband Tom received this memorable text from his father: “FYI, getting brain surgery tomorrow. Don’t worry. I’ll be fine.”

This was the first we had heard about his brain surgery. When Tom phoned his dad and asked why he wasn’t told sooner, my father-in-law had a clear explanation: He’d delayed his visit for so long that, when he finally saw a doctor, his symptoms had progressed and he was immediately booked for the procedure. (Happily, he fully recovered and is fine.)

It appears that this is a shared trait among the men in my family. Over the summer, my husband pretended an abscess on his back didn’t exist until it resembled a dolphin’s dorsal fin, and he ended up in Urgent Care, still protesting that it was probably a bug bite.

Many men, of course, are more diligent about regularly seeing a doctor than those in my family. But a 2022 Cleveland Clinic survey of 1,000 U.S. men found that 55 percent said they don’t get regular health screenings. Men of color were even less likely to see a doctor regularly — a full 63 percent dodged routine visits.

Another 2022 poll, conducted by Orlando Health , found that a third of the men surveyed thought they didn’t need checkups, while 65 percent believed they could skip seeing a doctor because they’re “naturally healthier than most people.” (This prompted Dr. Thomas Kelley, an Orlando Health family medicine specialist, to point out that it is “statistically impossible for the majority of men to be healthier than the majority of men.”)

Women, on the other hand, are significantly more likely to make an office-based visit, according to 2018 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . “It’s well documented that, compared to women, men are much worse at preventive care,” said Petar Bajic, a urologist at the Cleveland Clinic.

Some men shy away from seeing doctors because they fear receiving bad news, said Dr. Joseph Alukal, urologist and director of Men’s Health at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia. Some men might also “fall into the trap of just sticking our head in the sand,” he said. My father-in-law, for instance, ignored his blurred vision and headaches for months.

But avoidance can make the anxiety and fear worse, said Nora Brier, an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. And if a patient waits until symptoms are severe, “it does tend to propagate a stigma that they should be scared of the doctor’s office,” Dr. Bajic said.

There are other reasons men might delay checkups, Dr. Alukal explained. In his experience, health issues are “very rarely discussed with other men.” And many young men, he added, aren’t conditioned to make regular doctor visits the way that young women are encouraged to schedule annual OB-GYN appointments.

Diana Sanchez, a professor of psychology and department chair at Rutgers University, has found in her research over the years that men who have more traditional beliefs about masculinity are less likely to use preventive care or seek medical treatment for injuries and infections — because they tie this resistance to bravery and self-sufficiency.

As those men get older, however, this reluctance to get routine medical care can have serious consequences, Dr. Alukal said. Men die younger than women, according to data from the C.D.C. , and some of the leading causes of death — like heart disease and diabetes — are conditions that doctors screen for during routine checkups.

If you are a doctor-resistant man, like my husband and his dad, here are a few ideas that may help you inch closer to making that appointment.

Find a doctor you trust.

Even if you’re willing to visit a doctor, finding one that you trust can be a challenge. You can ask friends and family members for recommendations, or use platforms such as Vitals, an online physician booking site where patients can leave detailed ratings.

When you decide on someone, “see if you have rapport with the person, if you’re feeling like the provider is warm, or matches your personality style,” said Dr. Brier. And if you’re uncomfortable with a doctor, “get a new one,” she said. Even if you are limited to a particular practice, there might be other physicians on staff that meet your needs.

If you’re nervous, start with a telehealth appointment.

Check to see if your initial visit can be done virtually, said Dr. Alukal. “It’s better than nothing, and it’s a great place to start if it gets you closer to coming in and seeing me,” he said. After this first visit, he has found, patients are less resistant to an in-person appointment, because he has already created a relationship with them.

Be open with your doctor about any fears you have, Dr. Brier advised. “If you have worries about family members’ illnesses or the way they were treated when they had diagnoses, share them,” she said.

Bring a loved one to in-person visits.

Heading into the office is still essential, Dr. Bajic said. Some conditions, such as high blood pressure, which is a major risk of heart disease, can only be diagnosed during a physical exam, he said.

Skin conditions are often noticed during physical exams, too — and men are more likely than women to develop melanoma by the age of 50, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

And symptoms such as erectile dysfunction can be the first sign of a more significant issue, and often warrant a more thorough checkup, Dr. Alukal said, adding that erectile dysfunction can precede more serious problems, like a heart attack.

“It’s not uncommon that, when a man sees me for some urination-related issue, that I may end up diagnosing him with conditions like diabetes or undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea,” he said.

So get a date on the calendar, said Dr. Brier, and bring a loved one along for support — whether it’s a partner, a friend or even a kid. And consider snagging the first appointment of the day to avoid prolonged jitters and the impulse to cancel.

Going to the doctor gets easier.

As for routine appointments, Dr. Bajic used a car analogy for his patients: “If they’re good about doing regular maintenance on their car, they should be good about doing regular maintenance on their body,” he said. (Instead of an oil change, prioritize a cholesterol check.) The Mayo Clinic has a short list of recommended annual screenings for men.

“The more you do the thing you fear, the easier it’s going to be,” Dr. Brier added.

Tom’s dad didn’t enthusiastically run to the doctor; his wife nearly threw a net over him and dragged him there. If you also have a reluctant man in your life, Dr. Alukal suggested being persuasive without guilt-tripping or shaming.

Tell your loved one how much you care about them and how much you want them to stay healthy, he said. “There aren’t too many people who are going to fight back too hard when they hear something like that,” he added.

If you have high cholesterol, it may be tempting to try supplements rather than statins. But do they work?

Statins are some of the most widely prescribed drugs, taken by around a quarter of adults over 40. While cardiologists have long maintained that they’re safe and effective, some people are wary of side effects such as muscle pain. Are over-the-counter remedies like fish oils actually effective? Dana G. Smith found out they are not.

Read the full story: Can I Skip Statins and Just Take Supplements?

A new study suggests a link between a popular sugar substitute and heart problems. Experts say: Don’t panic.

Sugar substitutes have had a rocky history when it comes to long-term safety. Now the zero-calorie sugar substitute erythritol, which is often added to a host of low- or zero-calorie drinks, has been tied to a higher risk of “cardiovascular events” such as heart attacks and strokes. Dani Blum shares the details.

Read the full story: Study Suggests Possible Link Between Sugar Substitutes and Heart Issues.

The Week in Well

Here are some stories you don’t want to miss:

Connie Chang lists five helpful exercises to build bone and muscle in aging bodies.

Do you want more wonder and awe in your life? Of course you do. Christina Caron asked the author Katherine May how to feel alive again .

Carolyn Todd reveals why REM sleep is delightful for your body and brain .

Adding olive oil to your coffee is suddenly a thing. Dani Blum asks nutrition experts if there are any benefits.

Let’s keep the conversation going. Follow Well on Instagram , or write to me at [email protected] .

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Have feedback? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at [email protected] .

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Doctor’s Visits

Surgeon in blue and white scrubs, seated

Yearly visits to the doctor can help you watch your health and ensures you are around for your family and friends for years to come. A visit to the doctor does not have to be stressful.

Plan before your doctor’s visit:

  • Take a list of questions to your visit
  • Know your health info
  • Keep a diary to track any problems or concerns about your health
  • Make a list of all medications you are taking

Patient Intake

Build a partnership with your physician, during your visit.

  • It's ok to tape-record your visit, take notes or bring a friend or family member with you
  • Keep your talk focused to make sure to cover your main questions and concerns. These are any issues you may have and how they impact your life
  • Ask your doctor to clear up anything you don’t understand
  • Let your doctor know if you are seeing other doctors
  • Share info about any recent health tests your doctor may not know about

Questions to ask about a health issue

  • What is my health condition?
  • What has caused my health issue?
  • Can my health issue be treated?
  • How will this health issue change my health?
  • What should I expect?
  • Should I make any life changes?
  • How good has this care been with others?
  • Are there any risks tied to this care?
  • What can I gain from this care?
  • When will care start, and how long will it last?
  • Are their limits to this care that have to do with food or things I like to do?
  • Are there other choices I can pick from?
  • Will my care involve any drugs and if so, what should I do if I miss a dose?

Questions to ask about medicine

  • How long will I need to take this medication?
  • How will this medicine help me?
  • Are there side effects?
  • Do I have to take this medicine with food?
  • Have others used this medication?
  • Will this medication interact with other medicines I take?
  • What should I do if I have a bad reaction to this medicine?
  • What will happen if I miss a dose?

Medication Instructions

  • The medicine given to you by your doctor will tell you how much to take and how to take it.
  • Info for the people who work at the pharmacy is on the bottle and it tells the person at the pharmacy how much of the medicine to give you when you will need to fill it the first time and how many times you can refill it.
  • Your doctor will also sign and date the bottom of the form to prove that it was prescribed by a doctor.
  • Written orders from a doctor for a controlled substance, one that the federal government has decided can cause "abuse or dependence," such as morphine or methadone, will have added rules. The form will say how many times you can fill the medicine and if you can have refills. It must be done by hand and must be signed by the prescribing doctor.
  • Many doctors now send meds electronically to the drugstore of your choice to make it easier for you.

What is Diagnostic Testing?

  • Your sex, age and race
  • What you eat and drink
  • Drugs you take
  • How well you followed doctor’s orders

Questions to ask about tests

  • What kind of tests will I have?
  • What do you expect to find out from these tests?
  • When will you know the results?
  • Will I need more tests?

Next steps after your appointment

  • Follow what your doctor tells you.
  • Fill any prescriptions you were given and take them as directed.
  • Schedule a follow-up visit if you need one.
  • Review your explanation of benefits and pay your medical bills.
  • Contact your doctor, health plan, or the state Medicaid or CHIP agency with any questions.
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Doctor's plea to people who frequently visit the bathroom at night

Whilst you may wake up bursting to go to the toilet because you drank a glass of water before bed, there could be a more serious condition causing your frequent toilet trips at night

  • by Chanelle Georgina, Maisie Lillywhite
  • 10:13, 7 Nov 2023

It is not unusual to need to get up and go to the toilet in the middle of the night, with many of those who need to do so often placing the blame on the amount of water they drank during the day. But what if that is not the reason for your frequent bathroom visits after dark?

Sometimes, a change in the frequency of your toilet trips or the amount of control you have over your bladder can be a sign of an underlying health condition. Although a lot of sleepers never wake to go to the toilet, others will get up several times in a night, and this is definitely something to keep track of.

An increase in the frequency of your bathroom breaks can be caused by a variety of different conditions, from pregnancy and urinary tract infections, to more serious conditions, including diabetes, overactive bladder or prostate issues, The Express reports . Doctors are urging men who have been using the toilet more often to make an appointment with their GP.

Read more: Mum and daughter diagnosed with cancer just days apart after having 'no energy' and losing weight

Whilst the concept of talking about your toilet habits and getting examined may feel embarrassing, doctors have reassured men that they have heard and seen it all before. According to a study carried out by King Edward VII's Hospital, nearly half of men would avoid seeing the doctor for frequent toilet trips.

Meanwhile, 20 per cent of participants in the survey believed the issue would have something to do with their prostrate, and some suggested it was due to old age. Others associated it with drinking too much caffeine late at night.

But 43 per cent of participants expressed they had be unlikely to go see a doctor if they were facing the issue. Caroline Moore, a consultant urologist at King Edward VII's Hospital, urged men to visit their GP even if they feel embarrassed about it.

She said: "We are used to seeing men with a wide range of symptoms that they may find embarrassing, so there really is nothing that can shock us. It's important that men who are struggling with an issue with pain, delayed or frequent weeing to see their GP at their earliest convenience."

Moore has advised people to consult a doctor as a medical professional will be able to determine next steps. Symptoms of prostate cancer, as listed by the NHS , include needing to pee more frequently, often during the night, rushing to the toilet, difficulty in starting to pee (hesitancy), straining or taking a long time while peeing, weak flow, feeling that your bladder has not emptied fully, and blood in urine or blood in semen. For more information, visit the NHS official website and call your GP if you have any concerns.

Click here for more health news from BristolLive.

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Doctors have a new way to scrub personal information from internet after spike in harassment


  • Doximity announced a free service called DocDefender that can remove a physician's personal phone numbers and addresses from public websites. 
  • Some 85% of doctors worry about whether patients will access their personal information online, according to a recent survey by Doximity.
  • The company says its new tool will help give doctors some peace of mind about their safety so they can focus on providing better care. 

In this article

Doximity , the medical website that's used by more than 80% of U.S. doctors, is now trying to protect its millions of members after a spike in harassment that started during the Covid pandemic.

The 13-year-old company has introduced a free service called DocDefender that can scrub a physician's personal contact information from the internet. The technology scans dozens of the most common websites where a doctor's information might reside and automatically initiates the removal process.

Doximity's platform, which for years was described as LinkedIn for doctors , allows health-care workers to stay current on medical news, manage paperwork, find referrals and carry out telehealth appointments with patients. Since the Covid pandemic broke out in 2020, health-care workers have faced elevated levels of harassment and violence due largely to the politicization of masking, social distancing and vaccine requirements.

Doximity says the new feature is all about giving peace of mind to doctors so they can feel safer in their personal and professional lives and can focus on providing better care.

Dr. Amit Phull, chief physician experience officer at Doximity, said the feature is a service that users wanted. In March, more than 200 doctors traveled to Doximity's headquarters in San Francisco to help the company workshop new ideas for its platform. When executives presented DocDefender, they received a resounding standing ovation. 

"We've gotten positive feedback before," Phull told CNBC in an interview. "That was a first for us." 

Two months after the workshopping event, Doximity conducted a survey of more than 2,000 doctors and found that 85% of them worry about whether patients will access their personal information online. That number is higher within certain high-stress specialties like physical medicine and rehabilitation, neurology, emergency medicine and psychiatry.

Phull, who practices as a physician in emergency medicine, said he's felt concerned about his safety many times throughout his career. He carried out his trauma training in Chicago, where he treated several victims of gang-related violence. Phull said he was often thrust in the middle of complex conflicts that were out of his control, and he worried that people would find him online and retaliate.  

"If you find yourself in one of those high-intensity situations, and outside of the scope of your practice that conflict still persists, that online element can be kind of scary," he said.  

Since the onset of the pandemic, many patients have a shorter fuse. 

"I've been swung at by patients," he said. "We certainly deal with a lot of hostility."

Phull said that in testing the technology, he found details like his phone number, his relatives, his past and current addresses — and even a map to his old home on more than 25 websites. Now that he knows that information is being removed, Phull said he and his wife feel a little more comfortable.  

DocDefender users can monitor the removal process directly through Doximity's interface, and they will receive regular follow-up reports about the status of their online presence. Additional scans will also be carried out periodically to identify any new listings. 

The service will be available to all doctors on Doximity starting Wednesday, and will expand to nurse practitioners and others over time. 

'Opportunity to think very long term'

In addition to reaching more than 80% of U.S. doctors, Doximity says it's also used by 50% of nurse practitioners and physician assistants. 

The platform verifies members to ensure that they're practicing health-care professionals. Approved clinicians can use Doximity for free, as the company primarily generates revenue through its hiring, marketing and telehealth solutions.  

Doximity debuted on the New York Stock Exchange in June 2021, during the peak of the tech bull market. Its market cap climbed to $9.4 billion in its first day of trading, but has since fallen below $4 billion.

CEO Jeff Tangney, who co-founded Doximity in 2010, told CNBC the company is able to offer DocDefender for free in part because of its strong profit margins. 

"We just have the opportunity to think very long term and to invest in things that doctors really want, and that's what we're doing here," he said.

Dr. Azlan Tariq, a physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor and the chief clinical officer at a  physiatry organization called Medrina, had early access to DocDefender.

Doximity CEO on physician social network going public: "Our mission is to help doctors be more productive"

PM&R physicians often deal with patients suffering chronic pain and are responsible for prescribing — and denying — medications like opioids. Around 96% of PM&R doctors reported feeling concerned about their online privacy in Doximity's May survey.

Tariq said he's taken steps to try and protect both his online identity and his physical safety, leaving social media sites like Facebook and taking down personal information elsewhere. He tries not to shop near his clinic to avoid disgruntled patients, and he said he's always paying attention to his environment.

On one occasion, a patient was waiting for Tariq in the parking lot outside of his clinic. While the patient ultimately meant no harm, Tariq said he had to assume the worst. 

"You just think about exits. How can I get out of this?" he said. "Can I get back in the car? Can I get the door of the clinic and go behind? Those are just the normal behaviors."

He added that some of his colleagues seriously consider carrying a gun. 

Since testing DocDefender, Tariq said he's already noticed some of his personal information has been removed online, adding he feels a little more at ease.

Still, DocDefender doesn't entirely remove the risk of being found. Dr. Jasdeep Gill, a psychiatrist, said there are some databases for Medicare and Medicaid that list doctors' information, as well as websites that use their specific provider numbers. 

"Within the last two weeks, I've had two different people call my cell phone and request care, and I don't know how they found my cellphone number," said Gill, commenting that DocDefender is a step in the right direction to guard against this. "Trying to figure out how they got that information left me feeling just kind of uncomfortable."

Gill works with patients, including some who are incarcerated, dealing with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and substance abuse. He said he started taking the risks more seriously after a patient made threats against him while he was in residency. 

Gill said he paid $20 a month for an information-removal service, but that process was "clunky" and "cumbersome." He called Doximity's tool a "really easy service to use" and sees it as a way for physicians to maintain the boundary between their professional and private lives. 

"Our background history of where we live, who we're married to, what our cellphone numbers are, are things that are personal and that should be kept separate from the public's view," Gill said. "By creating that separation, it allows us to just do our jobs and focus on health care instead of worrying about safety."

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Doctor Who 's Older Seasons Won't Be Streaming on Disney+

Fans in the u.s. will need to also have max and britbox subscriptions if they want access to the entire series..

David Tennant in Doctor Who

If you’re in the U.S. and you want to watch any new Doctor Who that’s yet to air—including the eagerly awaited 60th anniversary specials starring the returning David Tennant , and the equally anticipated debut of Ncuti Gatwa as the Fifteenth Doctor— you’ll need Disney+ . But if you also want to watch seasons 1-13 of “New Who” or any of the pre-2005 episodes, you’ll need a few more subscriptions, too.

The tangled web of “where to watch Doctor Who ” might require a TARDIS to navigate, but here’s a relatively simple breakown for U.S. fans:

  • The Doctor Who 60th anniversary specials and the upcoming Gatwa seasons will stream on Disney+ globally (except in the UK and Ireland, where they’ll be on the BBC), and Disney+ will be the home of new Doctor Who episodes only, as reported by Inverse .
  • Doctor Who ’s 2005 return with Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston, dubbed “Season 1,” as well as the subsequent Seasons 2-13 with the Tenth Doctor (Tennant), Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith), Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi), and Thirteenth Doctor (Jodie Whittaker, whose run ended last year), can be found on Max.
  • “Classic” Doctor Who , going back to William Hartnell’s early 1960s portrayal of the character as the First Doctor, and up through Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor in 1989, is available on BritBox, which can be accessed as both a standalone app and a Prime Video streaming channel. BritBox also has a section labeled as “Season 27" that includes seven Doctors Revisited specials from 2013 and a handful of bonus specials, including 1981 Sarah Jane Smith spin-off K9 & Company: A Girl’s Best Friend.

Doctor Who ’s arrival on Disney+ begins November 25 with the first 60th anniversary special, “The Star Beast;” “Wild Blue Yonder” drops December 2, followed by “The Giggle” on December 9. Again, as io9 has previously reported, if you’re in the UK and Ireland, things are a lot tidier for Doctor Who fans, where BBC One and the BBC iPlayer are the one-stop home for the long-running series.

Update: An earlier version of this post misspelled Sylvester McCoy’s name. Gizmodo regrets the error.

Woman wonders if painful wait for facial abscess removal stemmed from Manitoba doctor shortage

Rhonda powers says growth burst during 3rd er visit as she was told to wait 7 weeks to see specialist.

doctor visits or doctor's visits

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WARNING: The following story includes images and description of a medical condition.

A Winnipeg woman whose golf-ball sized facial abscess burst while waiting for help during an emergency room visit questions whether Manitoba's doctor shortage played a role in her struggle to access timely care.

On Oct. 24, worsening pain from a abscess that "looked like a balloon" drove Rhonda Powers to seek care at an ER for the third time. Twelve hours into waiting, the growth popped and she was then seen by an expert — something she was previously told would take seven weeks.

"I don't think I could've stood it any longer," said Powers, 63.

"I'm not a vain woman, but people could see what was wrong or see my face getting bigger and redder, and the pain ... it felt as if my face was on fire."

Powers said she filed two formal complaints with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority about a week after the abscess burst.

Now healing, Powers questions whether the months she waited to see a specialist, and the hours-long waits in Winnipeg ERs, are symptoms of a broader doctor shortage in Manitoba.

A close up image shows a burst abscess on a person's face.

Canadian Institute for Health Information data released this week suggests Manitoba has 215 doctors per 100,00 residents — the second lowest rate in the country and far below the national average of 247.

  • Manitoba has 2nd lowest number of doctors per capita in Canada, new data shows

Doctors Manitoba president Michael Boroditsky lamented the shortage at the time, saying his "biggest concern" is the possibility that patients who need care aren't getting it in a timely manner.

Powers said her abscess needed care sooner, and she waited unnecessarily long.

"I was in so much pain all I wanted to do was just lie down," Powers told  Information Radio  host Marcy Markusa on Thursday.

"I was depressed, I still am depressed."

doctor visits or doctor's visits

Powers first went to the Grace Hospital emergency room on Aug. 22, and she said her family doctor had notified hospital staff of her condition.

She received a CT scan there showing she had a blocked salivary gland. Powers said a doctor wanted to remove it at that time.

But the on-call specialist disagreed, said Powers. Instead, she was given Tylenol 3 and antibiotics and sent home.

Not long after that visit, she received a letter from the specialist with an appointment date for late October — around seven weeks away.

She was soon taking half a dozen Tylenol 3s daily for pain. Her family doctor was growing more concerned, said Powers.

"All I could do was wait and when it got bad I would call [the specialist's] office and ... voicemail just told me to go to the ER."

'It was dreadful': Powers

Powers went back to the Grace Hospital ER again where a staff member prescribed her more Tylenol 3s and antibiotics and sent her home.

"It was dreadful, I couldn't do anything," she said. "It was turning into a nightmare."

Powers was just days away from the specialist's appointment date when the pain became too much to bear.

On Oct. 24, she attended St. Boniface Hospital emergency room — her third ER visit for the abscess since late August.

As she waited, the bulging growth "broke through my face," said Powers. A doctor at the hospital told her to cancel her coming appointment with the specialist and told her "we're going to take care of you from now on," she said.

The doctor pushed out fluid and out popped a popcorn kernel-sized stone-like object. Powers took it home in a pill bottle.

A popcorn kernel-sized stone from an abscess is seen next to a couple pens for scale.

This week, she filed one complaint with the WRHA addressed to the specialist she was initially assigned to see, and another directed at a staff member there. 

In an email statement, a WRHA spokesperson said they "cannot comment on an individual patient situation due to privacy concerns," and added that patients who experience issues should reach out to patient relations.

Powers lauded the care she received from her family doctor and others at the emergency rooms she attended.

Stay 'optimistic': Health minister

She is optimistic the NDP will make good on campaign promises to fix the health-care system, but Powers acknowledges the newly-minted government ministers have their work cut out for them.

"I would ask her and for others to hold on to that optimism," said Health Minister Uzoma Asagwara. 

"She had an experience that was unfortunately negative for her in many ways, and yet she still has the courage and capacity to share her experience in the hope that it will improve health care for other people. That is a very Manitoban thing to do."

  • Analysis For Wab Kinew and his new cabinet, the work starts now

Asagwara commended Powers for availing herself of the complaints system and other processes available to patients.

"Oftentimes the ways in which we improve the system and address issues in the system is after we've heard from people who have had inappropriate or unacceptable experiences," they said.

"This power of speaking up provides an opportunity for health-care providers to take a look at what happened and see where things can be improved, so that in the future if anyone else presents with a similar situation, that they get the kind of care that they expect."


doctor visits or doctor's visits

Bryce Hoye is a multi-platform journalist covering news, science, justice, health, 2SLGBTQ issues and other community stories. He has a background in wildlife biology and occasionally works for CBC's Quirks & Quarks and Front Burner. He is also Prairie rep for outCBC. He has won a national Radio Television Digital News Association award for a 2017 feature on the history of the fur trade, and a 2023 Prairie region award for an audio documentary about a Chinese-Canadian father passing down his love for hockey to the next generation of Asian Canadians.

With files from Jim Agapito

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Former medical doctor sentenced to prison for tax evasion

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Date: November 6, 2023 Contact: [email protected]

MINNEAPOLIS — A former medical doctor has been sentenced to four months in federal prison, a six-month term of home confinement, two years supervised release, and a requirement to pay full restitution following an extensive tax-evasion scheme, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.

According to the plea agreement and other court documents, from at least 2000 until 2018, Joseph David Meyer of Roseau, Minnesota, earned significant taxable income as a licensed medical doctor as well as income and interest from his ownership of rental properties. Meyer repeatedly challenged his tax obligations in court, concealed his taxable income, and even sued his rental tenants for complying with legitimate IRS levies. Meyer's evasion resulted in a total tax loss of $484,164.

Meyer pleaded guilty on June 29, 2022, to one count of tax evasion. Meyer was sentenced yesterday in U.S. District Court before Judge Donovan W. Frank.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by IRS Criminal Investigation (CI).

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jordan Sing prosecuted the case.

CI is the criminal investigative arm of the IRS, responsible for conducting financial crime investigations, including tax fraud, narcotics trafficking, money-laundering, public corruption, healthcare fraud, identity theft and more. CI special agents are the only federal law enforcement agents with investigative jurisdiction over violations of the Internal Revenue Code, obtaining a more than a 90 percent federal conviction rate. The agency has 20 field offices located across the U.S. and 12 attaché posts abroad.

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Minnesota doctor and poison specialist accused of fatally poisoning his wife

A Minnesota doctor who once worked for poison control was arrested Friday and charged with second-degree murder, accused of poisoning his wife, who died in August.

Dr. Connor Bowman, 30, is accused of having killed his wife, Betty Bowman, who was 32 years old when she died Aug. 20, only four days after she was admitted to a hospital. After her death was flagged as suspicious, police learned that the two were having financial and marital troubles and that Connor said he would get a hefty life insurance payout from her death.

Investigators “collected evidence that suggests Connor, who once worked for poison control, may have given Betty a drug for an ailment she did not have,” Rochester police said Monday.

An attorney listed as representing Bowman in court documents did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday afternoon.

In mid-August, Betty Bowman was admitted to the hospital after having suffered from symptoms of diarrhea and dehydration. Once there, she suffered from cardiac issues, fluid in her lungs and organ failure, according to a criminal complaint filed against Connor Bowman. She also had surgery to remove part of her colon.

Following her death, Connor Bowman wanted to cremate his wife, but the medical examiner’s office halted the cremation after it determined her death was suspicious, the complaint said.

Betty Bowman.

The Southeast Minnesota Medical Examiner’s Office alerted Rochester police on Aug. 21 about the suspicious death of a woman, according to a criminal complaint. The woman was not named in the complaint; police later identified her as his wife, Betty.

Police then spoke to a person who told investigators the Bowmans were having problems in their marriage and “were talking about a divorce following infidelity and a deteriorating relationship,” the complaint said.

Police also learned from a tipster that Bowman attended pharmacy school, worked in poison control in Kansas and was in medical school. Investigators, according to the complaint, also learned that Bowman had debt, so he and his wife kept separate bank accounts, and that Bowman told the tipster he was going to get $500,000 in life insurance because his wife died.

Bowman was listed as a credentialed physician and surgeon with the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice and had an affiliation with the Mayo Clinic. No one with the Mayo Clinic could be immediately reached for comment Tuesday.

A person from the University of Kansas who provided information to police told investigators on Sept. 29 that Bowman was a poison specialist and answered calls about poisons, the complaint said.

Bowman worked as a poison specialist on Aug. 5, 6 and 10, according to the complaint.

The person told police Bowman was researching colchicine, a drug used to treat gout, the complaint said. Bowman had not received calls about colchicine, and no other employee received calls about the drug, the complaint said.

Betty Bowman’s toxicology results showed colchicine was present in her blood and urine, which were taken when she was admitted to the hospital, according to the complaint. She did not have gout, nor was she given colchicine during her hospital stay leading up to her death, the complaint said.

“The Medical Examiner determined the cause of death of Victim to be toxic effects of colchicine and the manner of death to be homicide,” the complaint said.

Police with a warrant also searched Bowman’s home and found a receipt for a $450,000 bank deposit, the complaint said.

According to Betty Bowman’s obituary , she married her husband on May 30, 2021.

“The couple lived in Rochester, Minnesota, where Betty worked as a diligent and capable hospital pharmacist while Connor went through Internal Medicine residency. Her kindness and intelligence was noticed and valued by friends and strangers alike,” the obituary said.

Betty Bowman’s mother and family told NBC News in a statement Tuesday night that she was a dedicated pharmacist who worked in the operating room pharmacy at the Mayo Clinic and was beloved by colleagues.

“Co-workers continue to speak positively about her which speaks loudly to show how she carried her positive energy both in her personal and professional life,” the statement said.

“She was always there, a reliable pillar of strength and a listening ear during times of joy and sorrow. She showed us the true meaning of love-selfless, unconditional, and boundless.”

Betty Bowman was also the owner of a corgi, a foodie and a world traveler whose top destinations were Iceland and Hawaii, the statement said.

“Betty’s love was boundless, and it extended far beyond the confines of family and friends. Her warm smile, kind words, and caring actions left an indelible mark on our hearts. Betty had a passion for life that was infectious. She lived life to the fullest, embracing each day with enthusiasm and joy,” the statement said.

Court records show Bowman’s unconditional bond was set Monday at $5 million. A $2 million bond was also set with conditions that he not use alcohol or drugs, be monitored by GPS and remain in Minnesota unless he has written court approval.

Bowman, who apparently had not posted bond, remained at the Olmsted County Adult Detention Center on Tuesday, according to jail records.

Antonio Planas is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital. 


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    A face-to-face visit can help you feel comfortable and confident with their participation. Sometimes an in-person first visit can help doctors evaluate their patients in nontangible ways, too ...

  19. 5 Ways to Make the Most of a Doctor's Appointment Right Now

    Below, you'll find some guidance for making the most of your doctor's visit —whether it's in person or virtual. 1. Think big picture about your health, not just your immediate needs ...

  20. Why Do So Many Men Avoid Doctor's Visits?

    But a 2022 Cleveland Clinic survey of 1,000 U.S. men found that 55 percent said they don't get regular health screenings. Men of color were even less likely to see a doctor regularly — a full ...

  21. Doctor's Visits

    Yearly visits to the doctor can help you watch your health and ensures you are around for your family and friends for years to come. A visit to the doctor does not have to be stressful. ... There are certain pieces of info that your doctor will always have on meds. The doctor's info, such as their name, address, and phone number, will be on the ...

  22. 10 Words and Phrases for Doctor Visits

    medical check ups. medical examinations. medical visits. healthcare consultations. medical appointments. medical check-ups. medical checks. medical consultations. Another way to say Doctor Visits?

  23. Doctor's plea to people who frequently visit the bathroom at night

    Doctors are urging men who have been using the toilet more often to make an appointment with their GP. Read more: Mum and daughter diagnosed with cancer just days apart after having 'no energy ...

  24. A Doctor's Visit

    Korolyov, a young doctor, visits the house of Lyalikov, a recently deceased factory owner, to attend to the heiress, twenty-year old Liza, who has heart problems. The factory looks threatening, and Korolyov begins to construct a picture of it in his mind as the Devil's abode. He can't help but think of the unspeakable suffering that lurks ...

  25. Doximity announces DocDefender to remove doctor information online

    Key Points. Doximity announced a free service called DocDefender that can remove a physician's personal phone numbers and addresses from public websites. Some 85% of doctors worry about whether ...

  26. Doctor Who 's Older Seasons Won't Be Streaming on Disney+

    The tangled web of "where to watch Doctor Who" might require a TARDIS to navigate, but here's a relatively simple breakown for U.S. fans:. The Doctor Who 60th anniversary specials and the ...

  27. Woman wonders if painful wait for facial abscess removal stemmed from

    A Winnipeg woman whose golf-ball sized facial abscess burst while waiting for help during an emergency room visit questions whether Manitoba's doctor shortage played a role in her struggle to ...

  28. Former medical doctor sentenced to prison for tax evasion

    Date: November 6, 2023. Contact: [email protected]. MINNEAPOLIS — A former medical doctor has been sentenced to four months in federal prison, a six-month term of home confinement, two years supervised release, and a requirement to pay full restitution following an extensive tax-evasion scheme, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.

  29. Tennessee youths and doctor ask the Supreme Court to take up ...

    Nov. 1, 2023, 2:25 PM PDT. By Jo Yurcaba. Three transgender youths, their parents and a doctor in Tennessee asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday to block the state's ban on certain transition ...

  30. Minnesota doctor and poison specialist accused of fatally poisoning his

    Dr. Connor Bowman, 30, is accused of having killed his wife, Betty Bowman, who was 32 years old when she died Aug. 20, only four days after she was admitted to a hospital. After her death was ...