How to Find Good Doctors

Call 281-633-8600 for an appointment.  In this article, Dr. J. Michael Bennett discusses your right to choose a specialist when your primary care provider recommends that you see one.  This article is from a Dr. Jay Show broadcast on AM1560TheGame in Houston TX.

This is the fourth section of a Dr. Jay Show broadcast discussing the topic — How to Find Good Doctors.  With Doctor J. Michael Bennett is Bob Lewis of AM1560TheGame.  If you have questions for Dr. Bennett, please call our Sugar Land office at 281-633-8600 or our Houston office at 713-234-3152 for an appointment.  Dr. Bennett sees patients at his offices in Sugar Land and in Houston, near the Houston Galleria

Here’s a transcript of this portion of the Show.

DR. J. MICHAEL BENNETT:  This is Saturdays with Dr. Jay.  Today our topic is picking a physician and we were talking about going to an urgent care or some sort of side emergency room for an ankle sprain and how do you know when to go see a doctor and who and where and why and how. 

I think a lot of it has to do with what you’re looking for.  You have the option of following up with whoever they recommend in the urgent care, or you can basically do your due diligence and do a background check and ask your friends and family.  And it does make a difference in regards to your age and activity level. 

For instance, if a guy’s got a knee injury and he’s an athletic guy and does a lot of cutting, twisting, pivoting and plays football, etcetera, or a golfer, that patient should know that there’s general orthopedists out there that do everything and then there’s also specialists that have specialty training in shoulders and knees and elbows and things like that.  A sports medicine specialist would have more training and experience in returning athlete’s to full performance.

LEWIS:  The Sports Medicine Institute does adolescents to adults who are involved in sports?

DR. J. MICHAEL BENNETT:  Yeah, we cover everybody.  Over there the saying is:  “Every athlete is an elite athlete.”  Nowadays, more people are staying active later on in life.  Used to be you weren’t considered an athlete after 40.  Now you’re seeing people out there who are active who are … I think in Danny’s show, he was talking about a guy that was 60 that was doing some type of triathlon.  So it’s really changed and that’s something the medicine landscape has really taken into consideration.  That’s why you see a lot of these specialty institutes sub-specialization in some of this stuff.

LEWIS:  You see 60 and 70 year old men out there working it hard with their golf game or whatever they’re doing whereas 20 years ago, at 70 years old, you were sitting in front of the TV.  

DR. J. MICHAEL BENNETT:  Exactly.  I was out there at the range the other day and it was amazing.  You see these guys that are 60 and 70 years old, and some of them have these massive torn rotator cuffs and they’ve got braces on their legs, their shoulder is kind of hiked up and then they still swing the club better than I can.  It’s amazing; they still get the ball down there.  They’ve compensated and they’ve adjusted their swings.  But people are active for a longer period of time these days and that’s something you need to take into consideration when you’re picking a doctor.

LEWIS:  For the older gentleman who’s in sports – who is 65, 70, 75 years old – should those individuals have an annual orthopedic checkup to make sure everything’s fine?

DR. J. MICHAEL BENNETT:  You can.  I have patients who come and see me basically every year or so who say, “Haven’t seen you in awhile and I just want to make sure my knee is not bad.”  Sometimes it’s a patient who has some moderate arthritis or some degenerative changes in their knee and I’ll say, “Let’s just see you in about a year and see how you’re doing” or “come on in for an injection any time and we’ll take care of you.”  For the most part, my patients have my number, I’m accessible to them at all times so they can call me at any time and come on in and see me; my door is open.  That’s my practice.  And most practices are pretty much like that, I would think. 

I wanted to mention in regards to picking a doctor coming from an ER that insurance comes into play.  You may want to go see so and so but maybe that person is not in your plan or maybe with that insurance company, you’ve got to go to your primary care physician or PCP first and get a referral to see that doctor.  For some people it’s as easy as going to that doctor and seeing him, but for other people they’ve got to go through their primary care provider.  So when you go to your primary care provider and you say you have an ankle sprain or a shoulder injury or whatever, they’ll say to go see an orthopedist and they’ll make a referral.  Now you’ve got to realize that when they make that referral you’ve got the option to go wherever you want. 

If you say to that doctor, “Thanks, I appreciate it but I already see so and so,” they’re fine with that; they’ll send you to that doctor.  That’s a good thing.  Now it’s a big red flag for me if that PCP or whoever is referring you on says, “Well, no, I really think you should see this doctor.”   Bells and whistles should start going off and should start wondering, “Well, why?” And they may say, “This doctor does a great this and that and we really like this guy.”  But a lot of the things that people don’t know about is there may be other agreements or affiliations with that doctor just like endorsements and sponsorships with the athletic teams.  That doctor may have a common investment with them, or maybe they’re on the board of a bank together or something along those lines where they feel they need to support this other doctor.  So you’ve got to do your due diligence.  Take that recommendation into consideration but then go around and ask, see what the reputation is, see what your family and friends say, and if that all adds up and the doctor says “this is the guy to see” and your friends say “this is the guy to see” then that obviously is the guy to go see.

LEWIS:  I think for me that is the next step.  They’ve referred me to this doctor but who is he using for his rehab?  Because not all orthopedic work involves surgery; in fact, probably the great majority of it doesn’t.  But it does usually involve some type of rehab.  So where is that doctor going to refer you to and what is the relationship between that doctor and the facility you’re going to be seeing?

DR. J. MICHAEL BENNETT:  A lot of these hospitals are buying up these practices so they can keep the practices from Step A to Step D; they want the primary care doctor to see you initially from injury, then refer you to the specialist that’s also in that hospital, they do the surgery in the hospital and then the rehab in the hospital.  From a marketing aspect they want to keep it all within the one facility.  As a patient you have the right to go wherever you want to go.  If you want to stay there, great, then stay there.  But you should be able to pick and choose where you want to go.  It’s the same thing in private practice with other doctors.  I’m not saying everyone out there has an alternative agenda, I’m saying you just have to make sure you check and do your due diligence.

Dr. J. Michael Bennett is a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon and a Fellowship Trained Sports Medicine Physician with offices in Sugar Land and in Houston, near the Houston Galleria.  Dr. Bennett see patients from all over the Houston area including surrounding counties like Wharton County and Fort Bend County.  If you’d like to make an appointment with Dr. Bennett, please call our Sugar Land office at 281-633-8600 or our Houston office at 713-234-3152.

Dr. J. Michael Bennett

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