Making an appointment with the appropriate health care provider is usually the first step to take.
Who should I make an appointment with?
Many women start by seeing one of the providers listed below. Depending on your health insurance coverage, you may need a referral to see certain providers. Contact your insurance plan for specifics.
A hematologist is a physician who treats diseases and disorders of the blood. Most women end up getting diagnosed with a bleeding disorder by a hematologist. However, hematologists are specialists so your insurance may require a referral from a primary care physician (see below) in order to see them. Many hematologists who specialize specifically in bleeding disorders work at Hemophilia Treatment Centers (HTCs). Find an HTC near you. You can also find HTCs that offer specific services for women and girls with bleeding disorders.
OB/GYNs (obstetrician/gynecologist) focus on women’s reproductive and sexual health and are a good source of information around symptoms such as heavy periods. This may be a good provider to make an appointment with, if heavy periods or excessive bleeding following labor and delivery or after a miscarriage were some of the symptoms you identified.
Primary Care Physician/Pediatrician
A PCP (primary care physician) provides preventive care and basic diagnoses of common illnesses and medical conditions. PCPs are also referred to as internists and sometimes even family practitioners. For children and teen girls, the equivalent would be a pediatrician. Learn more about these different types 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 health care providers (such as internists and OB/GYNs) for students to see. Other campuses, who don’t offer their own clinics, often have a student health services team that can assist you in determining local available healthcare provider options.
What questions should I think about when choosing a 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 women 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 provider?
Many women 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 and 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 health care providers from people you know, make sure the provider is covered by your insurance and meets all of the needs you specifically have.
At an HTC (Hemophilia Treatment Center)
HTCs provide comprehensive care that address 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 health care 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. You can also find HTCs that offer specific services for women and girls with bleeding disorders.
What About Insurance?
Before making your appointment or visiting your doctor, it is important to find out what your insurance does and does not cover. Once you visit your doctor and find out more about any potential lab tests that need to be run or referrals, you may need to follow up with your insurance again to confirm coverage. Here are some potential questions to ask your insurance:
- 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 With Bleeding Disorders?
In addition, for women with bleeding disorders, NHF’s Victory for Women programs and website offer opportunities for women to connect and learn more about their bleeding disorders.