Top Doctors 2008
Carrying a few too many pounds? Who isn’t? According to this year’s top doctors, you may be part of Delaware’s No. 1 epidemic. “One of the most alarming trends we are seeing is a skyrocketing rate of obesity and morbid obesity,” says Dr. Joseph Rubacky of Dover Family Physicians. He is not alone in his observation. Every doctor profiled here cited the issue as the state’s biggest health concern. The reason? Obesity leads to diabetes and hypertension, it puts you at risk for various cancers, and it could lead to easily avoidable things such as the need for knee and hip replacements. More than one in five adult Delawareans are obese. That doesn’t mean we need to be. According to Dr. William Funk of Newark, anyone can change their health—with the right guidance. Herein, the top doctors share their best advice.
Research assistance by Jaclyn Smagala and Stephanie Ostroff
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Find a Doc Now—Hassle Free
Need to find a good doctor? Insurance plans force patients to choose specific doctors, yet those doctors don’t always accept new patients. Even Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware offers a doctor finder, but many of its available doctors are, well, unavailable. So how do you find a physician?
You ask around, says Mark Meister, executive director of the Medical Society of Delaware. “Consult family members, friends and coworkers.” Or visit the society’s new online physician finder, which provides background information and insurance practices. The finder can’t guarantee a doctor will accept patients, so if he doesn’t, “you go to your second or third choice,” says Meister. “And if that doesn’t work, ask the practice to recommend a doctor.” Websites such as healthcommunites.com and webmd.com also are helpful.
Doctors burn out, which is why most cap their practices at 3,500 patients. “Good doctors are around, but once people find out who they are, practices fill up really quick,” says Dr. Jerry Gluckman.
His waiting room is packed with patients every weekday, yet he and other primary care physicians at Brandywine Medical Associates in Wilmington are accepting new patients—via a shortcut for consumers. “It’s called an internal referral, which means we’ll take a new patient faster if a responsible, current patient recommends him,” he says.
Like the rest of the country, Delaware is facing a shortage of primary care doctors, yet the Delaware Division of Public Health reports that 83 percent of Delaware’s 781 primary care physicians are accepting new patients. It’s important to note that pediatricians comprise 20 percent of primary care physicians, and that many primary doctors are accepting fewer Medicare and Medicaid patients.
“In a perfect world, there would be a national master database of physicians listed by specialty and geographic region that was continuously updated with all sorts of insurance information,” Meister says. The complexities of that system would be enormous, he admits. Delaware has the medical society’s web site. Start there.
Page 11: Top Doctors - A listing of the most recommended doctors by their professional peers, as determined by a Delaware Today survey of licensed physicians in Delaware.