Tips for Scheduling an Appointment with a Specialist
Getting an appointment with a medical specialist can be a frustrating and challenging task. Not knowing where to begin, steps to take, or who to contact, coupled with the inability to get an appointment quickly can make anyone feel anxious or even helpless. There are a number of reasons getting an appointment with a specialist can be difficult:
High demand: Specialists are highly sought-after by patients in need of complex care. They have a limited number of time slots available in the day, and many may also be away from their office multiple times a week.
Shortage of staff: The COVID-19 pandemic has put a heavy burden on healthcare workers, leading to shortages of staff in many areas, including Kansas City and rural areas.
Unavoidable delays: A patient may require urgent care or the specialist has to take an emergency call, which results in a delay for you.
There are things you can do to make it easier to get an appointment
- Talk with your Primary Care Provider (PCP): Your PCP is your best resource. Think of them as your MVP quarterback. A PCP is a general, family, or internal medicine doctor who can help serve as your main point of contact for your healthcare needs.
- Be flexible: Be willing to schedule an appointment for a time that is convenient for the specialist, even if it is not your preferred time. You may also want to consider seeing a specialist who is located further away from your home if it means you get an appointment sooner.
- Ask about telemedicine: Telemedicine can be a convenient option for seeing a specialist, especially if you live in a rural area or have transportation challenges.
Here are some additional tips
- Ask about cancellation lists: Many specialists maintain cancellation lists. If you are willing to be flexible with your schedule, you may be able to get an appointment sooner if a patient cancels.
- Consider seeing a nurse practitioner or physician assistant: Nurse practitioners and physician assistants are qualified to provide many of the same services as specialists. They may also have shorter wait times for appointments.
Another thing you can do is engage your local and dedicated Blue KC Customer Service team. They are available to help you with personalized services, like help with understanding your benefits, identifying in-network providers, and connecting you with other resources.
For help finding a provider
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City’s Blue Medicare Advantage includes both HMO and PPO plans with Medicare contracts. Enrollment in Blue Medicare Advantage depends on contract renewal.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. The HMO products are offered by Blue-Advantage Plus of Kansas City, Inc. and the PPO products are offered by Missouri Valley Life and Health Insurance Company, both independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, and both wholly owned subsidiaries of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City.