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What if I need a referral to a specialist?

If you need to be referred to a specialist in a particular field visit your primary care physician to evaluate your concern and, if necessary, make a referral to a specialist.

If you have the type of insurance plan that requires a doctor referral for a specialist, you’ll go to see your primary care physician first. You’ll get a consultation, and if your doctor can’t help you, you’ll get a referral to a specialist who can help. If you wish to be consulted by a specific specialist, ask your primary care physician to refer you. You can also do some research before agreeing to the referral.

Helpful information about getting a referral to a specialist

Your general physician or specialist will provide you with a referral if your condition needs special care that your referring doctor can’t provide. It is possible to see a specialist without a referral, but that may mean extra costs and some details missing about your health condition that normally will come from a referring doctor. When choosing a specialist, it is essential to have all the facts including specialist waiting times, treatment options and potential costs.

Your primary care physician can refer you to a specialist with accurate and proper information about your health condition and updates. This helps him better understand your needs, make a correct diagnosis and provide the most suitable treatment plan for you.

In order to get a referral, you'll need to visit your primary care physician and ask to be referred to a specialist. You can also research and ask for another referral if you disagree with the first choice.

There are two reasons why is helpful to get a referral from your primary care physician:

  • Your physician knows the medical specialists in your area.
  • He or she also knows well your medical history, you may find that this is the best person to recommend a specialist.

Disclaimer: We do not assume responsibility for the use of the provided information or its interpretation. Our efforts are towards providing current and reliable information; however these should not be considered, or used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment.

Source: https://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Education/Medical-Library/