If you don’t already have a primary care provider (PCP), you should seriously consider finding one. It’s a good idea for everyone to have a PCP.
A primary care provider can be any type of general practitioner. That includes family physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners. Even pediatricians, obstetricians, gynecologists, and internists are sometimes considered primary care providers.
A PCP will see you for general health issues. PCPs provide routine checkups or care for acute non-emergency health issues like the flu, fevers, or rash. They are generally the first line of care. If they can’t treat you in their office, they will likely refer you to a specialist.
Primary care providers know your health history. They know what chronic conditions you have, what procedures you’ve had done, and what medications you take regularly. Your PCP can see the big picture and help you chart a course that fits your lifestyle.
Primary care providers know a lot about a lot. They can help clear your rash and adjust your blood pressure medication, all in the same visit. Some primary care providers even have a behavioral health clinician on staff. Your physical health and mental health can be cared for all in one spot.
Primary care providers are your first line of service, but they can refer you for lab work and other specialized services. Some PCPs even have community health workers within their office. They can help you manage your health care visits and prescriptions as well as many social service needs like transportation.
Primary care visits are one of the cheapest health care visits you can have. Specialists, walk-in clinics (including urgent care), and emergency departments are pricier. Often, individuals without a PCP must be seen at a walk-in clinic or urgent care in order to receive treatment. In those cases, a hefty copay may be waiting.
One of the most important roles of a primary care provider is providing preventative care. PCPs offer blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and various other screenings that can prevent chronic diseases like hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes. Your PCP will work with you to prevent chronic health conditions, heal acute illness, and manage chronic illness. Your PCP is your partner on your health journey.
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The information and materials herein are provided for general information purposes only and are not intended to constitute legal or other advice or opinions on any specific matters and are not intended to replace the advice of a qualified attorney, plan provider or other professional advisor. This information has been taken from sources believed to be reliable, but there is no guarantee as to its accuracy. In accordance with IRS Circular 230, this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used as or considered a ‘covered opinion’ or other written tax advice and should not be relied upon for any purpose other than its intended purpose