Healthcare Provider Interview Sheet
Once you've collected names and numbers and narrowed down your list of potential providers, talk with your partner about your biggest questions, concerns, and expectations. Then compile a list of interview questions. Consider starting with the interview questions below for each healthcare professional you are considering as your pregnancy guide.
What are the costs and payment options? If your health plan doesn't provide full coverage, find out how much the remaining fees will run and if installment plans are available.
Who will deliver my baby? Will the doctor or midwife you select deliver your child, or will it be another provider in the practice, depending on when the baby arrives? If your provider works alone, find out who covers patients during vacations and emergencies.
Who will I see during office visits? Group practices typically share delivery responsibilities, so you may want to ask about rotating your prenatal appointments among all the providers in the group so you'll see a familiar face in the delivery room when the big day arrives.
What is your philosophy on routine IVs, episiotomies, labor induction, pain relief, and other interventions in the birth process? If you have certain expectations regarding medical interventions during labor and delivery, you should lay them out now.
What hospital or birthing center will I go to? Find out where the provider has hospital privileges and ask for more information on that facility's programs and policies. Ask if a neonatal unit is available if problems arise after the baby's birth. Many hospitals offer tours of their labor and delivery rooms for expectant parents.
What is your policy on birth plans? Will the provider work with you to create and, more important, follow a birth plan? Will the plan be signed and become part of your permanent chart in case he or she is off-duty during the birth?
How are phone calls handled if I have a health concern or question? Most obstetric practices have some sort of triage (or prioritizing) system in place for patient phone calls. Find out how quickly calls are returned and if your provider will be available to speak to if necessary. And since babies don't keep bankers' hours, find out what system they have in place for handling night and weekend patient calls.
Some providers have the staff to answer these sorts of inquiries over the phone, whereas for others you might need to schedule a face-to-face appointment with the doctor or midwife you are considering.