How to find a doctor? This is not only a problem for migrants, but especially for them. There are plenty of commercial providers on the Internet that can help narrow down the search to specialties and locations. This service is also offered by health insurance companies, such as the AOK ( https://www.aok.de/pk/hilfe-ukrainische-fluechtlinge/hilfe-fuer-ukrainer). They also provide additional information on medical care. The Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (Kassenärztliche Vereinigung), in which all physicians who treat patients covered by statutory health insurance are organized, also provides information on searching for physicians. (https://www.arztsuche-bw.de/)
If you have been referred to a specialist by your family doctor—for example, an orthopedist or dermatologist—but cannot find a doctor, you can also contact the appointment service of the Kassenärztliche Vereinigung (Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians). (https://www.kvbawue.de/buerger/patiententelefon-medcall/terminservicestelle-fuer-patienten). The appointment service center can be reached by phone from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 116117. Outside office hours, this number can also be used to find out where the nearest emergency practice is located. In an urgent emergency, fast help is available by dialing 112.
Doctors with their own practices have different procedures for making appointments: in some practices you can book appointments online, in others directly in the practice, and in still others only by telephone. Usually, the most common problem is that doctors are overworked and not accepting new patients. Therefore, patients often have to call several practices or clinics to finally get an appointment with the desired specialist. If the doctor does not speak the patient’s language, the patient should seek an interpreter in advance. If there is any doubt about the cost coverage for the consultation of the doctor with whom the patient would like to make an appointment, this must be clarified in advance with the doctor and the health insurance company.
There are also portals on the Internet with ratings of individual medical practices. Since these ratings are randomly assigned, they are only of limited value as a criterion for deciding whether to visit a doctor’s office.
Symbol für die Ärzteschaft: das Stethoskop. Foto: tünews INTERNATIONAL / Martin Klaus.
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