One of the important factors in maintaining good health is finding a physician or facility that you trust and feel comfortable with. Here are some tips to consider when selecting a physician, facility or other health care professional.

Choosing a Physician

When you choose your personal physician, you are choosing someone who will work with you to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle and get the care you need. Here are some suggested steps to help you find a personal physician.

Consider Your Health Care Needs

Start by thinking about your health care needs and the kind of health care practitioner who would best suit those needs. Board-certified family practitioners, internists or pediatricians are often good choices to consider. Board-certified physicians complete training in a particular specialty area and pass a certifying examination given by the medical specialty board. Board-certified family practitioners, internists and pediatricians should be familiar with most common medical problems.

Think About Your Personal Preferences

Personal preferences can also play a role in your choice; for instance, you may be more comfortable with a physician who speaks Spanish or who is female. The Find a Provider function on this Web site can help you locate physicians who meet your qualifications near where you live or work.

Trusted friends and family members can also be good sources for suggestions and information.

Call the Physician's Office

Once you have identified a potential candidate, you may want to call the physician's office for more information. Questions to consider asking include:

  1. Is your office accepting new patients?
  2. What are your normal office hours?
  3. Is the office easily accessible (close to public transportation, wheelchair accessible, etc.)?

Choosing a Hospital for Cardiac Surgery, Total Joint Replacement, or Transplants

There are many factors that influence where you have your surgery done: the recommendation of your physician; opinions of your family and friends; or location and convenience.  But for some procedures, medical research shows results are often better at hospitals doing a large volume of these procedures. These include cardiac surgery, total joint replacements and transplants. In certain geographic areas, we have designated centers for cardiac surgery, total joint replacement and transplants. These centers do a large volume of these procedures each year and have a comprehensive program of care. 

If there is not a center that meets your needs in your area, be sure to talk to your primary doctor or other treating physician about the hospitals available to you.  Be sure to ask if the hospital has a nursing staff specifically trained in cardiac care/joint care/transplants.  Remember, the more often a cardiac/ total joint replacement/ transplant is done at a hospital, the more likely the result will be positive.

Centers for Cardiac Surgery, Total Joint Replacement and Transplants

FacilityType of Center
Anne Arundel Medical CenterTotal Joint Replacement
Good Samaritan HospitalTotal Joint Replacement
Sinai HospitalCardiac Surgery
Union Memorial HospitalCardiac Surgery, Total Joint Replacement
University of Maryland Medical CenterTransplants
Washington Adventist HospitalCardiac Surgery
Washington County HospitalTotal Joint Replacement
Virginia Hospital CenterTotal Joint Replacement
Inova Fairfax HospitalCardiac Surgery, Total Joint Replacement, Transplants
Inova Mt. Vernon HospitalTotal Joint Replacement
Washington, D.C.
George Washington UniversityCardiac Surgery, Total Joint Replacement
Georgetown UniversityCardiac Surgery, Transplants
Washington Hospital CenterCardiac Surgery, Total Joint Replacement, Transplants
Pediatric Cardiac Surgery
VirginiaInova Fairfax Hospital for Children
Washington, D.C.Children's National Medical Center

Physician and Hospital Performance Information

Choosing a physician or a hospital is an important decision. We understand the importance of this decision and we are pleased to provide links to government agency Web sites that can help you choose a physician or hospital and make informed decisions about your health and medical care.

Physician Information

The Web sites listed below have searchable databases noting the following information about a physician:

  • Education and training
  • Specialty board certification
  • Hospital privileges
  • Disciplinary actions
  • Malpractice judgments and settlements
  • Convictions of crimes involving moral turpitude

Delaware Board of Medical Practice
Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Board of Physicians
North Carolina’s Medical Board
Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine
Virginia Board of Medicine’s Practitioner Information Web Site
Washington, DC Department of Health – Office of Professional Licensing
West Virginia Board of Medicine

Hospital Information

The following Web sites allow users to:

  • Search for hospitals by geographic location or hospital name
  • View information about hospital performance based on medical conditions and procedures
  • Compare the performance of different hospitals
  • Learn more about treatment options and services offered

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Maryland Health Care Commission
Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council
Virginia Health Information