What To Do When a Doctor Won’t Accept New Patients

This post originally appeared on August 20, 2012. It was last updated on August 11, 2017. 

We’ve all found ourselves in need of a primary care doctor: whether you’ve moved to a new area, your trusted family physician has retired, or the doctor you’ve been seeing just isn’t living up to your expectations. The thought of having to identify someone new and then rebuild the intimate doctor-patient relationship can seem overwhelming.

dreamstime 7784507 227x343 What To Do When a Doctor Wont Accept New Patients Photo

The right doctor is out there! You just gotta know where to look.

But you ask your friends and family and consult other resources until you zero in on the perfect match. You breathe a sigh of relief and pick up the phone to make an appointment only to be set back on the doctor-hunt by these words: “The doctor is not accepting new patients at this time.” Now what?

While tears of discouragement may squeeze from your eyes, it’s important not to take this rebuff personally. There are many reasons why a doctor might reject a new patient, whether it has to do with your insurance, an already packed schedule, or a nearing retirement. And yes, doctors are well within their rights to refuse new patients.

Tips for Finding a New Doctor

Look at doctor ratings and reviews. The first course of action is to start your search again! Recommendations from your friends and family are a good place to start, but it’s wise to then take that list of names and cross-reference them against your personal requirements on a site like Vitals.  Your cousin Shirley may rave about her doctor, but if he doesn’t accept your insurance and is panned in his reviews for his cool bedside manner, you may want to move on.

Search on Vitals by what you needVitals lets you search for a doctor’s profile by name, or based on accepted insurance, education, patient ratings, specialty, location, and more, so building a list of doctors’ offices to try is quick and easy.

Maybe you’ll find Doctor Right on your first phone call, or maybe it will take some calling around. But with the right information and some perseverance, you’ll never run out of options.