Chesapeake-based doctor talks about challenges of finding a primary care provider

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Posted at 3:19 PM, Aug 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-10 17:33:47-04

CHESAPEAKE, Va. – Looking for a new doctor? You are not alone.

Some Hampton Roads residents are finding that there’s a lengthy wait to see a primary care provider, especially if they haven’t previously been seen by the doctor.

“With the pandemic, I think people avoided their primary care providers or didn’t have one, and now they have a rush to find one,” described Dr. Ryan Light with Greenbrier Family Medicine. “Because they’re like ‘I probably should have a regular doctor and I should get checked,’ so there have been more new patients coming in.”

Dr. Light says his office is accepting new patients, but he knows that some have long wait lists. He feels it’s in part because some doctors are retiring, and the community is growing.

“We see that when an area is growing, like Chesapeake is one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation right now, what we see is that you don’t have enough primary care. They outgrew the primary care providers in the area, and we’re trying to get more into the area but it’s hard to start a practice,” Dr. Light added.

He recommends asking friends and family for recommendations as well as checking out online reviews. Many insurance providers will have a list where people can begin their search. Dr. Light also says some physicians will allow prospective patients to do a quick "meet and greet" to see if it’s a good fit.

“It’s kind of like a first date, you’ll know whether you’ll like this person and want them to take over your care and whether it’s someone you can trust with your medical health,” said Dr. Light, “Because you’re really trusting them with your future.”