Making an appointment with the appropriate healthcare provider is usually the first step to take.
Who should I make an appointment with?
Many men start by seeing one of the providers listed below. Depending on your health insurance coverage, you may need a referral to see certain specialists. Contact your insurance plan for specifics.
A hematologist is a physician who treats diseases and disorders of the blood. Most men with bleeding disorders are eventually diagnosed by a hematologist. However, hematologists are specialists, so your insurance may require a referral from a primary care physician (see below) before you see them. Many hematologists who specialize in bleeding disorders work at Hemophilia Treatment Centers (HTCs). HTCs provide comprehensive care that addresses all issues related to a variety of bleeding disorders, including diagnosis and education about the disorder. The team consists of physicians (hematologists), nurses, social workers, physical therapists and other healthcare providers who specialize in the care of people with bleeding disorders. Find an HTC near you.
Primary Care Physician/Pediatrician
A primary care physician (PCP) provides preventive care and basic diagnoses of common illnesses and medical conditions. PCPs are also referred to as internists and sometimes even family practitioners or family physicians. For children and teenage boys, their PCP is their pediatrician. Learn more about these different types of providers.
Healthcare providers on campus
If you are currently enrolled in college, many college and university campuses have a campus health center, with a variety of healthcare providers, such as internists for students to see. Campuses without their own clinics often have a student health services team that can locate the healthcare providers you need.
What questions should I think about when choosing a healthcare provider?
Here are some considerations when choosing a provider:
- How long has the provider been in practice?
- Where did the provider receive training?
- Is the provider board certified?
- Has the provider diagnosed or cared for other men with bleeding disorders?
- Is the provider someone you feel comfortable asking even the most private questions?
- Do the office hours work with your schedule?
- Is the office conveniently located near your home, school or work?
- Is the provider accepting new patients?
- Is the provider covered by your insurance?
How do I find a healthcare provider?
Many men find a provider by contacting their insurance company and by getting recommendations from friends, family or coworkers.
Through Your Insurance
Since it is so important to make sure your insurance covers the provider of your choice, it is often easiest to search for provider directly through your insurance company. You can do so by calling the number on your insurance card. Also, most insurance companies have online listings of providers covered in their plans on their websites. Make sure you understand your particular insurance plan and ask about any related costs that seeing a specific provider might incur (premiums, copayments, deductibles, co-insurance, in-network versus out-of-network coverage)
While it is can be helpful to get feedback on healthcare providers from people you know, make sure the provider is covered by your insurance and meets all of your specific needs.
At a Hemophilia Treatment Center (HTC)
HTCs provide comprehensive care for patients with a variety of bleeding disorders, including diagnosis and education about the disorder. The team consists of physicians (hematologists), nurses, social workers, physical therapists and other healthcare providers who specialize in the care of people with bleeding disorders. Your insurance may require a referral to be seen at an HTC. Be aware, the HTC closest to you may be in another state. Find an HTC near you.
What about Insurance?
Before making your appointment or visiting your healthcare provider, it is important to find out what your insurance does and does not cover. Once you visit your provider and find out more about any potential lab tests that need to be run or referrals for other healthcare professionals, you may need to follow up with your insurance company again to confirm coverage. Here are some potential questions to ask your insurance company:
- Is the healthcare provider in network?
- Do I need a referral to see a specialist (i.e., a hematologist)?
- What services and/or lab tests require a preauthorization?
- Will my prescriptions be covered?
Learn more about health insurance coverage options that may be available to you.
How can I connect with others who have VWD and other bleeding disorders?
In addition, for men with von Willebrand disease (VWD) and other bleeding disorders, NHF's Steps for Living website offers opportunities to learn more about living with a bleeding disorder through all stages of life.