Dr. Morrow is an experienced private practice physician and healthcare executive. Now he is president of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Houston and he continues to help others get the most out of their insurance. He took a little time to answer a few questions for rolling out.
What is the importance of having a primary healthcare doctor?
First, I am a primary care doctor. I was in family practice in Sugarland where I grew up. [Having a primary healthcare doctor] is critically important after the [recent healthcare] changes and getting everyone to sign up. Once you have your insurance, you have to use it effectively; one thing you will need is a primary care doctor. That’s important on many different fronts. In our country, the best way to access our health system is through your doctor. Medicine runs best with what we call the patient/physician relationship.
What should someone look for in finding a primary doctor?
When they sign up, make sure the doctor they choose is in their network. There are different ways they can identify if it is a good fit. They can talk to family and friends. Also, there is the local medical society that can give you information on physicians. What are their hours, are the hours conducive so you can see them, are they close to you and is the hospital that they are associated with near you? There is a lot of value in having your own physician. The real value besides being connected in the system is having someone help guide you through prevention and wellness. Even when you are not sick, it is important to still see your doctor for wellness examinations, to check for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar, which can lead to diabetes. Really it is critical for patients to keep up with their preventive examinations, wellness examinations and prescribed medicine. The most financial and clinical way to manage an illness is not to get one or if you have one to identify it and take care of it when it is clinically easier and much less expensive.
If your job changes insurance companies and your present doctor is not under that group should you ask your present doctor for help?
I think that a first step in the patient/physician relationship is that physicians can guide you through healthcare and part of that guiding is referring you to other physicians. That can be other physicians because you changed plans or moved. It can also be a specialist and what is the best kind. If you have a back pain, is it orthopedic, neurological, is it some other problem? This is when your personal physician can help guide you.
Additional comments by Dr. Morrow
As important as having health insurance is, it becomes important when you “use” it. Particularly when you use it for wellness and prevention. And the best way to that is to establish a relationship with the physician who is your doctor, and that’s important.