A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

Thinking about getting a second opinion? 3 things to consider

Having trust and connection with your health care provider is essential. Sometimes, there are situations where providers and patients may have differing opinions for their care.  Along with that, there are times when a provider needs to call on a colleague who is specialized in a health care condition for their expertise.

patient talking to doctor for a second opinion

Having trust and connection with your health care provider is essential.

In these scenarios, a second opinion or perspective may be requested. A second opinion means that you choose to see another provider or specialist after you’ve received an initial diagnosis or treatment plan for a medical condition.

Reasons for second opinions

The reasons for a second opinion can be variable, typically patients would like to hear about more treatment options than what was initially given. This can be related to a different approach to care or alternative treatment options that are not available with the current health system.

It may feel like a difficult or awkward conversation to have with your primary care provider or specialist. However, your provider should put your health needs first and having an open conversation is important.

“Ultimately, my goal is to provide the best care possible for the patient,” said Amy Zangl, family medicine physician assistant at Marshfield Clinic Health System. “It’s my job to be a partner in your care journey, which may involve collaborating with another physician to get the accurate diagnosis and treatment.”

Contact insurance first

Lea Buckridge, assistant manager in Care Innovation at Marshfield Clinic Health System, specializes in referring partners coordination. To start the process of finding a new provider, Buckridge recommends you speak with your insurance directly to understand if second opinions are covered, and whether they require a referral and if so, from whom – like your primary care provider.

If your insurance or department requires a referral, you can speak with your primary care provider, who will send a referral through their referral tool.

“It’s best to contact your insurance company first to find out what works best for your situation,” said Buckridge.

Contact the department

For some departments, you can simply call and schedule by requesting a second opinion with another provider.

There are some cases that a second opinion would not garner further treatment options, and the request for a second opinion may be declined after a review of the case.

Put your health first

“We always encourage patients to see a provider they trust who aligns with their goals of care, and we have a variety of providers across Marshfield Clinic Health System who provide care in varying approaches,” Buckridge said.

If you are in need a second opinion, contact your insurance first, and then talk to your provider to get a referral or contact a new provider for treatment options available.

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