Choosing Your Doctor

Selecting a Primary Care Physician that is best suited for you and your family is a foundation for good health care.

Prepaid Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) are the starting point for HMO members who need care. Members will select a PCP or will be assigned to a doctor. PPO members are not required to designate PCPs, but because specialists cost more, members should consider starting with a primary care doctor when seeking care.

To find out what PCPs are available to you through your medical plan, you can search for doctors using your plan's website or by calling your plan.

What to consider

  • Availability: Inquire if the doctor accepting new patients through your medical plan.

  • Education/Training: Where/when did the doctor graduate from medical school? At what institution(s) did the doctor receive training?

  • License: Find out the status of California physician licenses using the Medical Board of California website. This site will also report any disciplinary action taken by the Board against a physician.

  • Board Certification: Some doctors are board certified, which means they have completed several years of training in a specialty and passed an exam. For more information, visit the American Board of Medical Specialties website or call (866) 275-2267.

  • Office Location: Is the doctor's office conveniently located? Is public transportation available?

  • Medical Group Affiliation: If you belong to an HMO, your Primary Care Physician will usually refer you to physicians in the same group. With which medical group(s) is the doctor affiliated? Does that group offer access to a wide variety of specialists? Medical group ratings can be found at California's Quality of Care Report Card and

  • Hospital Affiliation: With which hospital is the doctor affiliated? Is that hospital conveniently located? Hospital quality ratings can be found on and

  • Urgent Care: Is there an urgent care facility available or are you required to use the Emergency Room at the hospital? What are the hours of operation?

  • Foreign Languages: Would you or one of your family benefit from a PCP that spoke another language?
  • What Type of Doctor best Suits Your Needs?
  • Family Practice: Family practitioners are normally trained in the care of adults and children; a good choice if you want to have the same doctor for your entire family.

    Internal Medicine: Internists normally treat adults only (17 years or older).

    Pediatrics: Pediatricians are specifically trained in the care of children, normally to their mid-teens.

    Ob/Gyn: Obstetrician/gynecologists treat adult women.

    Sub-specialties: PCPs do not necessarily have a sub-specialty; however, some PCPs have additional training in particular fields of medicine (like endocrinology or rheumatology) which could be a benefit if a family member has an ongoing or chronic condition.

Local Health Facilities

Many of the answers to these questions can be found on your medical plan's website, or on the website of the medical group (or groups) to which your doctor belongs. Medical groups near UC Davis include:

This information is only a general guide. There may be more pertinent information you should consider prior to choosing your PCP. For more information on this topic, see the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality guide to choosing a doctor.