No one likes to get sick, but when they do they rely on their doctor to help them get well again. Thankfully, Albuquerque has some of the best doctors and medical facilities in the country to promote healing.
There are several medical offices, clinics, urgent care facilities and hospitals located around the city. Specialty care can be found for every ailment or disease and caring, friendly medical staff will be on hand to help you in your time of need.
Those just arriving in Albuquerque should consider finding a new health care professional a high priority. The search should begin when you arrive in the area and not when you or a family member becomes ill. The trust that is needed in a doctor builds slowly over time and it is best to start the relationship as early as possible.
Treat finding a doctor as seriously as when you are looking for a new job or new home. Keep in mind that, depending on the length of time you will be in the area, this can be a long-term commitment and you need to be comfortable with the person that will see you while you are most vulnerable.
When starting the search for a new doctor the local phone book, referrals from friends, referrals from your current doctor, and the internet will be among the best resources available. When you find a potential doctor, call their office and ask if the doctor will book an appointment to get to know you and your family and answer some questions. Most doctors should take the time to meet potential patients, just be sure to ask what the charge for this type of appointment will be. Never forget that a doctor’s time is a valuable thing so a nominal fee should be expected.
After you have a list of doctors you are interested in, the following tips will help you make your decision:
- Ask health insurance plans and medical offices for information on their doctors’ training and experience.
- Look up basic information about doctors in the Directory of Medical Specialists, available at the local library. This reference has up-to-date professional and biographic information on about 400,000 practicing physicians.
- Use “AMA Physician Select,” which is the American Medical Association’s free service on the Internet at www.ama-assn.org for information about physicians.
- Is the doctor board certified? Although all doctors must be licensed to practice medicine, some also are board certified. This means the doctor has completed several years of training in a specialty and passed an exam. Visit the website of the American Board of Medical Specialties at www.abms.org, or call them at (800) 776-2378 for more information.
- Have complaints been registered or disciplinary actions taken against the doctor? To find out, call your State Medical Licensing Board.
- Have complaints been registered with your state department of insurance?
When you are meeting the doctor and his staff for the first time, consider the following:
- When scheduling the appointment, was the receptionist friendly, prompt, and professional? Did they take the time to answer your questions? Were you left on hold for too long? Did they seem knowledgeable about the workings of the office?
- When arriving for your appointment, were you greeted promptly? Was the reception area clean and comfortable? Was the staff friendly and willing to answer your questions?
- When in the exam room, did you have to wait long to see the doctor? Was the exam room orderly and clean? Was there a chair for a family member to sit in?
- When the doctor entered the exam room, did they introduce themselves with a smile? Did they seem rushed or tired? Did you get a good first impression? Did you feel comfortable talking with them and telling personal information?
- During the consultation, did nurses pop in and out? Did the doctor have to leave the room during your conversation? Did the doctor seem caring and compassionate, and sympathetic to your concerns? Did the doctor rush through the meeting? Did the doctor seem relaxed? Did you feel as though you were the only patient they had to see that day?
HOSPITALS & MAJOR CLINICS
When your primary care physician, or an emergency situation, sends you to a hospital or clinic it might help to ease your mind with the knowledge that many accomplished medical professionals call the city home.
Albuquerque has top notch medical facilities staffed with experienced personnel who are prepared to assist you in all of your health care needs. These hospitals and clinics are among the best in the nation and are equipped with the latest technologies and techniques in patient care.
These technologies have dramatically changed the face of medicine. Many procedures that once required hospital admittance are now offered as outpatient services or at some clinics. In the case of where an extensive stay is unavoidable, rooms are comfortable and many facilities have extended visiting hours for family and friends to stop in.
URGENT CARE CENTERS
Urgent care centers in Albuquerque, and across the country, help thousands of people each day cope with illness and injuries. These facilities may lack the scope of an emergency room, but they are equipped to deal with non-life threatening medical situations.
Urgent care centers can provide a useful network of care options that involve an individual’s primary care physician as well as other clinics and hospitals. These centers also aid in freeing up hospital emergency rooms so that space can be utilized for the treatment of more serious conditions.
OTHER MEDICAL SERVICES
Albuquerque is also home to many other types of medical services. These include traditional professions such as dentists, chiropractors and plastic surgeons as well as alternative methods of healing such as homeopathic medicine, aromatherapy and acupuncture.
KIRTLAND AFB HEALTHCARE
The 377th Medical Group provides the primary health care to military members and their families assigned to Kirtland AFB and enrolled in TRICARE Prime. The main medical facility, located at 1501 San Pedro Street SE in Building 47, works with the New Mexico Veteran Affairs Health Care System and operates under a program called Joint Venture. To use Joint Venture services, you must be enrolled at the Military Treatment Facility for Primary Care.
TRICARE is a health care program for members of the uniformed services and their families. TRICARE incorporates the health care resources of each Military Treatment Facility and includes various networks of civilian health care professionals. For more information on TRICARE, call the local Managed Care Support Contractor, TriWest at (505) 260-2960.
To access all medical clinics, including primary care or urgent care appointments, please call (505) 846-3200. This uses a menu system, so select from the appropriate options you are given. Life Skills Support Center/ADAPT appointments may be scheduled, cancelled or changed by calling (505) 846-3305. Family Advocacy Program appointments may be scheduled, cancelled or changed by calling (505) 846-0139.
The 377th Dental Squadron operates the Dental Clinic, which is located in a separate building next to the main Medical Facility. To schedule an appointment, call the clinic at (505) 846-3027 and for after-hours, weekend or holiday emergencies call (505) 846-3200.
The Optometry Clinic provides primary vision care to those eligible. This clinic offers eye exams and special testing for all active duty, retirees and their dependants. Appointments are made by calling the clinic at (505) 846-3384.
Two pharmacies are available on Kirtland AFB. The Main Pharmacy, which provides all new and renewed prescriptions, is located at the 377th Medical Group in Building 47. The Satellite Pharmacy provides only refill prescriptions service and is located at Building 20167, between the BX and Commissary. To contact the Main Pharmacy, call (505) 846-3130. The Satellite Pharmacy can be reached by calling (505) 846-4263.