Aging out is when a patient reaches 18 years old in pediatric care, officially leaving child care and entering the adult medical system. This requires a transition of medical files and the search for a new Primary Care Provider.
Early talks about the process can reduce stress and confusion
The transition process should begin around 16 years old, but talking to you child about it can come as early as 14. We are a guiding presence through the process, but most of the work falls in the hands of you and your family.
Early work avoids surprises
Getting a new PCP and transferring medical records should be done sooner rather than later. This is the best way to avoid a gap in coverage for your child, especially if they are chronically ill.
The provider you choose to be responsible for your care as an adult is called your PCP. This provider could be a doctor, nurse practitioner, or a physician’s assistant. Typically, you will see your PCP once a year for an annual physical. You may also see your PCP for urgent care appointments when you have a medical issue.
Your PCP will get to know you well as you are transitioning into adulthood and become a great resource for you to talk to when you have concerns about your health or wellbeing.
When choosing your new provider, consider what is most important to you:
Where are they located?
What languages do they speak?
Do they have special training?
After choosing your PCP, the next step is to schedule an annual physical. This is all you have to do to become a new patient in their adult practice.
Once you have chosen a new provider and made an appointment, you need to call your insurance company to let them know you will be seeing a new provider. The phone number for your insurance company is usually located on your insurance card.
A little preparation will help you to have a successful first appointment with your new provider. Take a look at this checklist for details on what to bring, questions you may want to ask, and what information you should write down before attending your first appointment.
A few helpful tips to remember:
Arrive at least 15 minutes early for your appointment.
If you have questions, write them down ahead of time.
Bring your insurance card and all medications that you are currently taking.
Be prepared to talk with your new provider your family’s medical history