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The Right To Choose Your Doctor

December 5, 2013, 6:08 PM by Sammi Bjelland

The Right To Choose Your Doctor

Your doctor, your choice. 

A statewide movement allowing you to keep your doctor could soon go to the voters. Now the group behind "Patient Choice" is educating the public about what this could mean to you.

Many people develop a relationship with their long time doctors, but when insurance plans change they may not get to see them anymore. 

"You happen to work for an employer in South Dakota that provides you with health care insurance or healthcare coverage. And then through no fault of your own, that employer decides to switch to a different plan. And that plan may no longer includes the health care provider you have a relationship with," Dr. Blake Curd said.

Patient Choice is a measure to ensure that no matter what insurance provider you have, you can use the doctor you're most comfortable with.

This means if your doctor is out of network for your insurance plan, you can still go to them without penalty, if the doctor agrees.

"The person they think is most capable and best equipped to help them make the choices that they need to make in their health care decisions," Curd said.

Today, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Blake Curd explained why he believes this measure is important to patients, especially with a long medical history.

"A new doctor may not understand their history. They may not understand their healthcare conditions, in the aggregate. May not understand their own physiology and how it's been difficult to get them balanced on that set of medications. They have to start all over again from scratch," Curd said.

Last week, Secretary of State Jason Gant announced Measure 17 had enough valid petition signatures to put the measure on the November 4 ballot next year.

If no one challenges the petition by Friday, Gant says this would be the first initiated measure on the 2014 General Election.

For more information on the measure and the mission of Patient Choice, visit their website here.

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