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Getting what you need.

At least 3 days before your appointment, call the provider's office and request any reasonable accommodations you might need. this includes sign language interpreters, personal assistant services, etc.

Be prepared.

Before going to the appointment be sure you know what health issues you want addressed and why. Make a list of the questions you want answered. Most doctors will want to know the date of your last period and what medications you are taking.

Speed up the process.

For your appointment with a new provider, bring evidence of your health insurance coverage with you. Try to think about insurance issues like copayments.

Be assertive.

You have the right to receive services; the medical staff is there to help you receive services.

Ask questions.

You have a right to get information from every medical provider in a form you understand. Ask to get information in your native language. Ask for more explanation if you feel confused. Keep asking questions until you feel like you understand.

Share what you know.

You know your own body better than a medical provider. Tell the professionals your opinions and any recent medical history related to your visit.

Be willing to listen.

After you request information or services, listen to what the answer is. While listening, decide if they have answered your questions. If not, keep asking.

Keep records.

Keep all the papers concerning your health care together in a file. Keep a diary or log of any recent medical problems.

Bring a friend.

If you feel uncomfortable going to your appointment by yourself, go with someone. Invite a friend or family member who helps you feel stronger or helps you stay focused.

Remember your rights.

Everybody has the right to good health care. everybody has the right to be informed about their health, to make choices about what happens to their bodies, and to receive services in a timely manner.

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