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Care teams? Allergist vs pulmo vs GP

One more question: what do your care teams look like? I’m curious if anyone uses an allergist/immunologist to care for both your asthma & allergies, or do we all have pulmonologists too? 

Previously I had an allergist and a primary care doc for the mild asthma. Now it looks like I’m building a baseball team! 

My thought was keep my pulmonologists in Denver, but pair them with someone local to be their eyes/ears. I’m not sure if the local asthma person should be a pulmonology midlevel or my new allergist/immunologist MD that I really like? 

I don’t have an appointment to meet the local pulmo midlevel provider until May. Makes me sad. There are only 2 local pulmonologists, 1 is leaving and the other is way over worked! I was in the hospital in February … and this May appointment is the soonest the local guys could get me in! The world needs more lung docs!

thanks for reading! 

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  • Breatheeasy

    I see a pulmo who is also an allergist. He has a diploma in immunology but is specialised in pulmonology. Previously I had an allergist and a pulmonologist.

  • Deborah Bartlett

    Back in the day….YES I am that old! Your general practitioner did everything. Family doctors, we called them. Now the regulations tell them to send you to an ENT, podiatrist, orthopedist, etc. A physical exam does not involve as much as it once did.

    I have gone through a few pulmonary physicians. They did not help me, nor did the expand on their findings. My first one did not even keep a record of my being a patient there. My second pulmonologist send me to am ENT because of my problem with thrush. He also sent me to an immunologist because of my nail problems. My immunologist told me that he could take care of all my lung problems. I had seen a few other doctors as well, but I decided to stick with him. I needed to find a new primary care doctor, so I went to the one I go to now. He is also a lung specialist. It works out well for me. He has helped me more than other pulmonologists have. He started helping me right away. So now I see those two doctors all the time. I will go to a specialist if I have to. I get all my meds through the two of them. So far, so good! My immunologist is also an allergist. 

  • Wheezy Me

    I have a pulmonologist who is wonderful. Never needed an allergist as I'm not allergic.

    Regarding your question, Emelina… I think one of the most important parameters for a primary doctor is their availibility.  Especially when you're looking for someone local to "serve as your regular pulmo's eyes/ears". Such a doctor will not help much if they don't have an appointment soon… 

    See the new pulmo in May and then make your decision. But until then I think it is a good idea to stay in touch with the allergist you like and whom you can meet more easily.

  • K8sMom2002

    Em, I like the variety of answers you've gotten here … it reminds us that people's care teams are unique and tailored to their needs.

    A few thoughts …

    • Could you make sure your care team includes a great pharmacist? Our pharmacist has been an invaluable member of our team — doctors know medications in a general sense, but pharmacists know medications in a very specific way. Plus, they are the one team member who is sure to deal with ALL of your doctors. With each medication you add, it's a good idea to talk with your pharmacist.
    • I believe in having a good family doctor/primary care doctor, especially if your specialist is some distance away. Our DD's pediatrician has been a marvel to work with, and he works with her specialists as a team. He taught me how valuable a primary care physician can be.
    • Our asthma tends to be the allergic kind, so we rely on allergists, but pulmos are great, too. Many ICU intensivists have a pulmonology background, and my mom's doc was a pulmo — very smart man.
    • The larger your care team, the more important it is that they work well together. Because of our DD's unique health challenges, her care team involves multiple specialists. In the past, I moved on to a different doctor because I preferred one that would be a team player — that means communicating with me and her other docs in a timely fashion and deferring to another specialist's expertise.
  • Emelina

    Thank you breatheeasy, Debbie, wheezy me and Cynthia for sharing your care teams. You all bring up great points about finding the right match, finding someone with availability/accessibility. Thank you for your bullet points Cynthia. I have an amazing pharmacist on my team; you are right, pharmacists are wizards and an invaluable part of the team. Good point as well about finding docs who are comfortable being on a team. I was thinking that I might go looking for a new primary care doc. Mine has been good, but I think there might be a better match out there. 

  • Deborah Bartlett

    My doctors work as a team. They discuss my case. Their offices are across the street from each other. I feel so lucky!

    My pharmacy is excellent! The pharmacy manager is exceptionally devoted. The techs are wonderful as well. If I have a question, and my docs are gone for the day, I can call there for advice. They go beyond their call of duty. The manager always comes out and asks me if I have any questions. He gives me my shots too. When insurance doesn't want to cover my meds, he fights and battles to help get them covered. So, yes- a good, caring pharmacy is very important! 

     

  • K8sMom2002

    Debbie, that's great! It sounds like you have done an excellent job choosing the members of your care team.

    Emelina, what sorts of things are you looking for in a primary care physician? Is there a way you could mull that over and then schedule a time to talk with your doctor first before moving?

    Sometimes talking through expectations and asking why a doctor has a particular approach can be very useful and can salvage a relationship. And if not, then you have an even clearer idea of what you DON'T want when you search for a new doctor.

  • Breatheeasy

    I don’t have a primary at the moment. It got tough last year when my primary thought my issue were nothing. But I had insurance that let me see specialists so I went to my ENT who told me I need a pulmo coz I definitely have an asthma exacerbation. Later I also went to an allergist because my pulmo told me I need an allergist(to keep allergies down) as well as a gastroenterologist(to rule out gastro problems or treat them if I have any)

  • Marie E Natzke

    I see a rheumatologist,

    ENT,

    allergist – he takes care of my allergies and asthma,

    chiropractor,

    G P,

    gastrointestinal dr. 

    podiatrist

     

  • Breatheeasy
    Melissa G posted:

    Breatheeasy, could you ask one of the specialists for a recommendation for a GP?

    Most of the docs in my area do not accept new patients. I go to see someone who runs my blood work. But I am looking for someone new. I also see my ex-husbands primary sometimes who is about 40 mins away. Most people that live around me seem to see their specialists and don’t have a primary. I also go to the urgent care clinics for colds to run tests. 

    Im looking for work and might move so I’ll probably need a new team of docs then.

  • Deborah Bartlett

    A good thing, Breatheeasy, is to have your bloodwork results when you do find a new primary care doctor. The results can tell the doctor alot about what's going on with your health. 

    Could you either call your insurance provider, or check their website for primary care doctors within their network? Maybe there is a doctor closer than you know!!!

  • Breatheeasy
    Deborah Bartlett posted:

    A good thing, Breatheeasy, is to have your bloodwork results when you do find a new primary care doctor. The results can tell the doctor alot about what's going on with your health. 

    Could you either call your insurance provider, or check their website for primary care doctors within their network? Maybe there is a doctor closer than you know!!!

    Good idea. thanks Deborah!