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Finding a new doctor

Lupus Foundation of America

Resource Content

There is no one single recognized center of excellence for the treatment and diagnosis of lupus in the United States today. The Lupus Foundation of America has no mechanism by which it can rate either hospitals or physicians.

Building up a relationship with your doctor takes time and commitment. Finding a new doctor can be a lot of effort, and it can be a complicated process.

The general recommendation is to find a physician who is affiliated with a medical school—a university hospital, for example. They are generally regarded as very good places to go for the diagnosis and treatment of lupus. 

These health care institutions may have faculty on staff who are involved in lupus research and are generally the most up-to-date on the latest advances in its diagnosis and treatment. Certainly the health care institutions with established reputations fit this description. 

Building up a relationship with your doctor takes time and commitment. Finding a new doctor can likewise be a lot of effort, and it can be a complicated process.

Follow these steps to find the right doctor for you or your loved one:
  1. Talk to your primary care physician or referring physician. They may have the best information on doctors in your area that treat lupus and/or have a special interest and knowledge in the treatment of lupus.
  2. Contact your insurance company to get a list of physicians that are covered by your insurance. This will save you a lot of time calling physician’s office only to find out they do not take your insurance.
  3. Contact your local Lupus Foundation of America Chapter, the American College of Rheumatology, local hospitals, a university medical center, or look online for names of doctors near you who specialize in caring for people with lupus.
  4. Contact doctors on your list for more information and find out about:
    • Office hours and how the office responds to patient calls after hours.
    • Which hospital(s) the doctor is affiliated with.
    • The type of insurance accepted.
    • The payment policy for services.
    • The doctor’s experience in treating people with lupus. Provide pertinent information about your loved one’s health care needs to determine if the doctor is able to help
  5. Evaluate how the office personnel responded to your questions. Were you put on hold for a long period of time, or more than once? Was the person that you talked with courteous and interested in answering your questions?
  6. If you are finding a doctor for your loved one, share this information so he/she can choose.
  7. Help your loved one schedule the first appointment. Ask if you can accompany him/her to meet the new doctor.

If you or your loved one are not comfortable with the new doctor, that’s OK! Don't give up the search. You will find one that fits what you're looking for.

Need help finding a rheumatologist?

If you are looking for a rheumatologist, we recommend the Directory of Rheumatologists from the American College of Rheumatology.