Did you know that 1 in 4 Americans are skipping medical care? While the cost of healthcare in the states is a huge problem, it’s also not good to skip your yearly check-ups. Your primary care is important!
But what is primary care anyway? Why do you need to visit a primary care provider, and who will that provider be? Let’s talk about it.
Read on for a brief primary care guide.
Who Can Provide Primary Care?
When most people think of primary care, they think of general physicians. While family doctors are the most common providers of primary care, you actually have other options.
Certified nurse practitioners are able to offer primary care services, as are physician’s assistants. While some people may be nervous about these people offering their primary care services, there’s no difference in the quality of care between those medical professionals and general doctors.
Sometimes OBGYNs will also offer primary care services, but this isn’t always the case.
What Types of Services Are Included in Primary Care?
For the most part, primary care services are “general health” services. You see a primary care physician for wellness check-ups, immunizations, and mild illnesses (such as the flu or a sinus infection).
Primary care physicians can also handle minor injuries. They’re responsible for pediatric care and they can help with issues like nutrition and weight loss.
Primary care providers can diagnose illnesses and prescribe medications, though they may send you to a specialist.
In short, if a situation isn’t urgent, you’ll typically want to see a primary care provider. You can read here for more about one primary care provider.
Can Primary Care Providers Handle Complex Cases?
So if primary care providers handle “general” issues, what happens when you have a more complex situation?
First and foremost, if you have an emergency, you should visit the emergency room or your local urgent care center. Primary care providers usually require appointments unless they offer walk-in clinic hours.
If you have a situation that isn’t urgent, but is also beyond your primary care provider’s area of expertise, they may refer you to a specialist. It’s often best to go through your PCP as they may be able to get you a quicker appointment.
If you have a pre-existing condition, your PCP should be able to provide care for you.
How Often Should You Receive Primary Care?
Healthy adults should try to see a primary care provider at least once per year for a check-up. Even if you feel fine, it never hurts to stay on top of your health.
Children need to see primary care providers more often, especially during their first year.
So What Is Primary Care? General Care
What is primary care? It’s the care that you get every year to keep you healthy and strong. Primary care providers can help you catch illnesses before it’s too late, and they can give you helpful primary care tips for overall wellness.
Have you had a primary care visit recently?
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