When is it too old to see a pediatrician?

- Chania Ford has been seeing Dr. Minu George since she was six years old, and now as she prepares to head off to college, she has every intention of continuing to see her beloved pediatrician.

"Hopefully for as long as I possibly can," Ford said. "I mean, I'm 18 now, is 26 pushing it?"

Well, not really according to Dr. George, who's the Chief of General Pediatrics at Cohen's Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park and sees many of her patients well into their 20s, and occasionally even longer.

"I usually cut off patients once they're ready to have their own children, I usually tell them they need to see an adult doctor," Dr. George said.

She says while many patients transition to adult doctors after college, plenty stick around.

"I think the trend now is for more young adults to stay with their pediatrician. Comfort, ease, where the practice is located all allows them to continue with that pediatrician," said Dr. George.

While a number of New York pediatricians told Fox 5 they see their patients well into adulthood, experts say the National Statistics show otherwise.

"In 2012, only 1.8% of 19 to 24 year olds were seeing pediatricians," said Dr. Patience White is the co-director of Got Transition: The Center for Health Care Transition and Improvement. That's an increase of less than a percent since 2007, according to data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care survey, provided to Fox 5 by Got Transition.

Dr, White says one reaon young adults may choose to stay with their pediatricians is a lack of insurance.

"The real story here is probably that the young adults themselves still are largely uninsured and they actually don't have a usual source of care ," she said.

Clinical reccomendations dictact the transition to adult care should happen when the patient is between 18 and 21 years old, according to Dr. White.

"I think the benefit is to actually go with somebody who has the training to take care of your particular age group and remember young adults get adult illnesses and some of these pediatricians are not so familiar with," she said.

But many young adults like Ford say they prefer to maintain some familiarity in their health care regimes as they prepare for their futures.

"I'm very comfortable here," she said of her relationship with Cohen's Children's Medical Center. "It's like family."
 

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