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The Importance of a Primary Care Physician

Oct 31, 2007
Choosing a primary care physician (PCP)for your health care needs is critical for the coordination of the health care system. A PCP is usually one of the following types of medical providers: Pediatrician, General Internists, Obstetrician/Gynecologists or a Family Practitioner.

Many Americans wade through the American Health care system without a relationship with a primary care physician. Not electing a PCP is akin to fishing without a line. You have a fishing pole but no way to get the lure in the water. With a PCP your fishing experience will be more complete because the fishing pole, line, lure and fishermen are working together.

Sure we can find other providers on our own and set appointments with these providers to seek treatment for something your PCP may not be trained for but should you? But the PCP is your ticket to continuity in health care delivery. your PCP will keep your medical records and be able to provide these records to specialist you are referred to see.

Your PCP should know about all vitamins, over-the-counter medications and alternative therapy you are receiving so that these medical interactions are coordinated with those your PCP is prescribing or those your PCP is referring you to for treatment.

In addition, your PCP will be the physician who will coordinate your elective hospital procedures or will be called in if you are admitted to a hospital. In short, your PCP coordinates your health care. Your PCP will prescribe medications, give you physicals, advise you on treatments and help you with referrals to medical specialists who are best suited to help you with a medical need beyond the scope of the PCP.

Many individuals do not have a relationship with a PCP. Those who have not developed a relationship with a PCP should seek referrals from family members, co-workers or through a local hospital system's physician referral hotline.

You want someone who knows the medical community and will provide you advise on where to go for medical care beyond his or her expertise. Your PCP will help you with any medical you need you have if you ask. So if you have not chosen a PCP, now is as good of a time as any to do so. Contact people you work with or family members who live nearby for information on who their PCP is so that you can consider this person and above all, if you do not have a PCP, get one now!
About the Author
Scott is a partner in ESP Benefit Design, an employee benefits insurance firm based in Westerville, Ohio. (614-882-8535) Scott has an MBA from Franklin University. Scott has worked with over 6,000 customers. Email Scott at scott@espbd.com

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