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Can Medicare help me find a psychiatrist who accepts Medicare?

2 answers | Last updated: Feb 16, 2015
Opiegirl asked...
Can Medicare refer you to a psychiatrist who accepts Medicare?

Caring.com User - Joseph L.  Matthews
Caring.com Expert
Joseph L. Matthews is a Caring.com Expert, an attorney, and the author of Long-Term Care: How to Plan & Pay for It and...
64% helpful

Yes, the Medicare web site has an interactive service called the Find a Physicianpage. Click on it and you can find a psychiatrist near you who accepts Medicare patients. See also:
Medicare Part A
Or, you can get the same information by calling Medicare toll-free at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Bear in mind, though, that getting from Medicare the name of psychiatrists who accept Medicare patients doesn't guarantee that a particular doctor will accept you as a patient. Many doctors limit the number of Medicare patients they will accept, and many doctors simply have a full patient roster and do not accept any new patients. The fact that a doctor accepts Medicare doesn't mean he or she is required to accept you as a patient.


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An anonymous caregiver answered...

Be aware that the web-based system Medicare provides to help you find a doctor is quite poor. The database which contains provider information is notoriously full of incorrect information. Pulmonologists are listed as gynecologists. Dentists are listed as psychiatrists. You also may wind up with a list of providers meeting your search criteria (the software allows very few search criteria), and when you call any of the numbers given for them, you will be told that provider has never worked there and they know nothing of him.

The web interface is also quite badly designed, and makes it very hard to get down to the contact data you need. It is slow, and is also designed such that, if you need to restart your browser, all your search data will be lost and you will have to begin all over again. Contact information is not displayed until you drill down to it with many clicks. If you take too long, your session will time out and your data will be lost. You cannot force the system to simply give you all the information at once, so you can save it and examine it later. There is no way to print out all the information from a list of hits so you can take time and research providers at your own pace. There is a feature to print out data to PDF, but, surprise!, it's just a list of names! The site withholds all contact information from such a print out.

The telephone service is even worse.

It's not clear if Medicare deliberately has chosen to make it nearly impossible to find a provider, so as to minimize the services delivered to Medicare beneficiaries and thus program outlays, or if Medicare's badly designed systems are just another example of inept government, but in any case, prepare yourself for a long, arduous search if you attempt to find any kind of provider using the methods provided by Medicare.


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