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How to Find a Good Neurologist

Some of us have been fortunate to connect with doctors and other medical care providers who we are pleased with, and we often feel like  winners in some big lottery; but then there are those people who are still seeking the right team members. People will often ask how to find a good doctor and I’ve accumulated some tips that might be useful if you are in the still searching group.

Upfront, I want to say I recognize many people don’t have the option to look around for doctors. They may live in remote areas with limited numbers of providers or have insurance constraints that keep them to certain doctors. If you fall in one of those groups, I can only hope you are satisfied with the medical care and advice you receive.

But for others who might be searching…

Maybe you are just starting this MS journey and are looking for a doctor to settle in with for the long trip. Your family doctor or someone at a hospital has sent you to a neurologist who gave you the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, but you want might to check out other options or get a second opinion.

For others, if you aren’t happy with your care, don’t just sit back and complain… do something about it. Many people with Multiple Sclerosis are known to ‘fire’ their neurologists and look for care elsewhere. Sometimes their approach to treatment is a reason to move on – maybe the doctor wants to wait and see if the person really needs to be on a disease modifying therapy. Or their scheduling department and receptionists’ attention is an irritation every time you have contact with them. There are a lot of reasons why people become unhappy with their doctors and it is no crime or shame to want to find a better situation.

So what is a good way to find a new neurologist? Do some sleuthing – that old-fashioned detective work where you search for clues and put together the pieces. The easy way out is to use the internet, go to chat rooms and forums where they are discussing MS and just ask – ‘anyone have a doctor near Anytown, USA you would recommend?’ and then wait for their answers. You might get lucky and find someone to connect with without leaving the comfort of your home.

You could use some of those online rate-my-doctor sites for recommendations, but remember more people take the time to complain than to praise, and those ratings are almost always suspect. They are rarely objective, and I wouldn’t recommend those as the first source of doctor names.  The Consortium for MS Centers has an online directory of the doctors who have completed their certification in multiple sclerosis and it is easy to search there for the MS Clinics in your home state.  Remember though, being certified in MS specialty still doesn’t guarantee the neurologist will be a good fit for you.

Now a good detective doesn’t mind going out and pounding the pavement and making personal connections and I like that approach the best for finding a great neurologist or other providers. Go to where other people with MS gather – this could be support groups, special events sponsored by your local MS organizations, or even the talks sponsored by the pharmaceutical companies.

Ask people with MS who they see and would they recommend that doctor to others. Ask probing questions such as how hard is it to get in to see the doctor, or do they have plenty of time for appointments or does it feel rushed. Think of what is important to you with a doctor and ask those questions. The best and most honest answers you will get are going to come from other people who are already using the services of these medical providers.

Neurologists who specialize in multiple sclerosis and are a good match for you and your care might be hard to find, but they are out there. Keep searching until you are satisfied and feel like you’ve hit the lottery jackpot, too.

Wishing you well,

Laura

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The MultipleSclerosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Adriann
    4 years ago

    For me it is about the Insurance .. The mere fact that I am below 65 and on SSD + Medicaid is a huge No-No anywhere in the Great State of FL ..

    After working the majority of my adult life and getting this gift of MS at 43, jokingly I always had said I want to be retired by 40, but reality was someone needed to have a full-time job for Insurance ..

    And that was me .. My ex enjoyed retirement and I went on to continue working .. At first it was okay , but when I went on Disability and then more recently having to add Medicaid as my wrap around it has been hell ..

    No one wishes to deal with MS .. There are Facilities over 300 miles away and there is a Great MS Neurologist here but he is not in my Group .. You must get special dispensation and for me it is difficult and emotionally draining ..

    Cannot understand why we having such a disease that steals our energy and twists our brains so cannot get an Advocate to help handle these sort of details ??

    And please tell me that NMSS will get involved as I wrote them seeking their help about all this .. Here in FL , over in Miami and they tell me nothing they can do ??

    I will try to get the dispensation , since they don’t even have any Dermatologists in their Provider Book , I have to write them about that as well .. So much for “Extra Help” with our Hidden Disease ..

    And that is the problem , we must make it more Public .. All year long and In Your Face .. Like Cancer as this is so far an Uncurable Disease that wreaks Havoc on Children and Adults Alike ..

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    4 years ago

    You are on the other side of this story which I mentioned at the beginning – the people who are stuck with no options. You are right – our community needs to be more vocal, all the time, so everyone has access to care. Thanks for sharing your story. -Laura

  • Cherie
    4 years ago

    The CMSC (Consortium of MS Centers) also maintains a directory of member sites and providers and can be reached at info@mscare.org . Another site where you can search by State is http://www.msneuroratings.com

  • Sue
    4 years ago

    If you’re just about anywhere in the Washington, D.C. metro area, check out Dr. Heidi Crayton at the MS Center of Greater Washington. She only works with MS patients and is very involved in the MS Society. She is progressive with the newest drugs available and is not afraid to discuss alternatives and things like diet and exercise. She’s in Vienna, VA and is very responsive to all sorts of questions and concerns. She’s my 2nd neuro after a bad start. Pretty awesome.

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    4 years ago

    Thanks for giving that high praise for your neuro – it’s nice to see other people happy with their doctor(s)- Laura

  • Jen
    4 years ago

    OMG it is so hard finding good doctors these days!! My 1st words to them are if you see me as a number , not a human tell me now and if you are the total textbook doc who can’t see outside the box realize every patient is different then tell me now and don’t waste my time

  • Adriann
    4 years ago

    Amen

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    4 years ago

    It sounds like you have the patient conducted interview down just right- you know what your ideal candidate looks and works like. -Laura

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