Picking a Pediatrician When Opting for Delayed Vaccinations

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My OB suggested that we start looking at pediatricians now instead of waiting until the baby arrives since I have pretty specific views about delayed and selective vaccinations.  There are apparently two in the Kaiser Medical Office near us, out of eight, that are known to do delayed vaccination.

In my mind, the most important things were the following:

-Will the doctor respect my opinion about the care of my child or will he/she belittle my views and insist on his/her own way?

-Will the doctor take the time to explain his/her position and be well educated on certain vaccines and medical procedures?

-Does the doctor have the kind of bedside manner/demeanor that would be welcoming to children?

Luckily, we're with Kaiser, so I was more focused on the quality and perspective of care rather than the logistics of how the doctor's office handles dealing with my insurance group.

Here are the questions I asked and what he answered:

Do you do delayed vaccinations? Yes.  There is a recommended schedule but delaying is up to you.  The only concern with that is the small window of time you are delaying vaccinations.

How do you handle delayed vaccinations? We can go according to whatever schedule you want.  Some parents come in with a set schedule they want to adhere to.  Others just want to limit the number of vaccinations to 1-2 per visit.  In a scenario like that, you'll go from visits at one every two months to once a month or more.

What if I don't want to vaccinate for certain things like Chicken Pox? It's totally up to you what vaccines you want to skip, however, Chicken Pox can be quite severe.  And vaccines for diseases like Chicken Pox don't hurt the immune system's ability to create a overall stronger immune system, like the common cold or flu vaccine does.

What are the medical decisions I need to make for the baby at birth? The big decisions are the Hep B vaccination and Vitamin K shot.  Hep B is only a concern in case it was missed in the mother. Vitamin K is required if you are going to circumcise but is recommended regardless.

How do you feel about circumcision? The American Academy of Pediatrics recently came out with the recommendation that male babies be circumcised to reduce risk of STD spread, like HPV.  This is of course up to you and doesn't need to be done at birth but is only covered by insurance up to one month after the baby is born.  Anything after that is out of pocket as it is considered elective surgery at that point.

What is the visit schedule after birth? You will come in to visit 3-5 days after the baby's birth to check weight and health.  If the baby is fine, the next appointment is 2 weeks later and then once every month to two months depending on how he's meeting his milestones.

What is the purpose of each visit?   Mainly to make sure the baby is meeting his weight gain requirements and later to discuss developmental milestones.

We decided on him fairly quickly.  He was a reasonably young doctor, laid back demeanor and no ego about him at all. 

If you are with an HMO or PPO, here are some additional questions you might want to ask from The Bump.

[   ] How long have you been practicing?

[   ] Do you have any sub-specialties?

[   ] What are your hours? Do you offer evenings or weekends?

[   ] Do you offer same-day sick appointments? How far in advance do well appointments need to be scheduled?

[   ] What if my baby gets sick when the office is closed? Who covers in an emergency if you aren’t on call?

[   ] Is this a solo or group practice? If it’s solo, who covers when you are gone? If it’s a group, how often will we see you, and how often will we see other members?

[   ] Do you have separate sick and well waiting rooms?

[   ] Do you respond to questions by e-mail? Do you accept calls for routine and non-emergency questions? If I leave a message, how long does it usually take you to return the call?

[   ] Will your initial meeting with my baby be at the hospital or the first checkup? What is your schedule for well baby checkups?

[  ] Will you discuss my child’s general growth and issues like discipline and social development?

[   ] What are your views on… Bottle feeding? Circumcision? Parenting techniques? Getting babies to sleep? Alternative medicine? Antibiotics? Immunizations? Childhood obesity?

[   ] What hospitals do you work with?

[   ] Do you take my insurance? Is there an extra charge for…Advice calls during the day? Advice calls after hours? Medication refills? Filling out forms? Will any other fees apply?

[   ] What are your policies for insurance claims, lab policies, payments and billing?

[   ] What tests are handled in the office, and what is done elsewhere? Where?




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