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Transitioning from Pediatric to Adult Care

We’ve enjoyed caring for you in our pediatrics department, but as you get older, our providers in adult medicine are best equipped to continue your care. This is why we help all of our pediatric patients transition to adult medicine by 23 years old.

When you’re ready to officially make the transition, the process looks like this:

  1. Choose a new primary care provider or “PCP.”
  2. Make an appointment.
  3. Inform your insurance company.
  4. Prepare for and go to your first appointment.

Step 1: Choose a new primary care provider or “PCP”

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?

Boston Medical Center has two adult medicine departments that would be happy to have you as a patient:

  • Family Medicine: Family Medicine providers care for individuals and families during all phases of life including childhood and adulthood. 
  • General Internal Medicine: Internal Medicine providers care for all patients 18 and older.

You also need to make sure that the provider you choose takes your insurance. Here is a link to the list of insurance providers that Boston Medical Center currently accepts.

Step 2: Make an appointment

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.

If you have chosen a PCP at Boston Medical Center, just call the appropriate office to schedule your appointment. 

  • Family Medicine – 617.414.2080
  • General Internal Medicine – 617.414.5951

Step 3: Inform your insurance company

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. 

Step 4: Prepare for and go to your first appointment

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 about your medical history and your family’s medical history.

If your appointment is with a BMC practice, you may also want to set up your account on MyChart beforehand. MyChart is our secure, online medical portal. 

Through MyChart, you will be able to access test results, communicate with your new doctor, and view your full health summary. If you do not already have a MyChart account, signup to MyChart for free. You can also download the MyChart app on the App Store. 

Find a new specialist

If you see any pediatric specialists, you will also need to get a new specialist who cares for adults. Your current specialist or PCP can help you with this. 

You can also review our catalog of BMC specialists (make sure to check the box for “Adult” under “Type of Patient” when searching).

Additional resources to help with transition to adult care

Got Transition
Helpful website that can help answer questions youth and families might have about the transition process. 

Healthy Transitions
Provides a transition skills checklist with guides and videos for topics like scheduling an appointment, getting health insurance, guardianship, managing medication, and more.

Turning 22
Includes some of Massachusetts’ resources and information to help families with disabled children transition into adulthood.

Planning for Life After Special Education
Manual for students, parents, and guardians about transition services.

Massachusetts Disability Information 
Comprehensive website to help people with disabilities find the information they need about healthcare and other services.

Transition from School to Adult Life
Transition resources from Massachusetts Department of Education. 

Health Transition for Youth and Young Adults with Special Health Needs 
Resources for youth and young adults, their families, and providers as they move from pediatric to adult health care systems and learn to take charge of their health and related needs.

Health Transition Support and Advocacy Groups 

Resources for those with special health needs as they transition to adulthood.

A Bridge to Adult Health Coverage and Financial Benefits (also available in Spanish)  
Details about transitioning social security insurance as a child with special needs turns 18. 

Massachusetts Guardianship Association
Information and resources about guardianship and conservatorship in Massachusetts.

BMC policies on transition

BMC has several specific policies about patient age and status within the pediatric department. If you have any questions about these policies, don’t hesitate to ask your current provider. 

  • A patient is considered successfully transitioned to an adult provider after they have had a complete physical exam (CPE) with an adult provider. Until they have had a CPE with an adult provider, they are still considered a pediatric patient.
  • Adolescent/pediatrics will not provide a CPE for any patient over the age of 23.
  • Adolescent/pediatrics will not see a patient who is over 23 and has not been seen in adolescent/pediatrics in over 2 years.
  • All pediatric providers provide on-call coverage for all patients who belong to the pediatric practice.
  • Any NEW adolescent patient over the age of 21 should be scheduled with an adult provider UNLESS they need a consult or access to subspecialty services, in which case patients can be scheduled up to age 26 (for instance, patients who are referred to menstrual disorders clinic, CATCH, CATALYST, LARC placement, etc).