Updated: Aug 15
A primary care physician (PCP), or primary care provider, is a health care professional who practices general medicine. PCPs are our first stop for medical care. Most PCPs are doctors, but nurse practitioners and even physician assistants can sometimes also be PCPs.
A PCP is the person your child should see for a routine checkup or non-emergency medical care. If your child has a mild fever, cough, or rash, or is short of breath or nauseated, a PCP usually can find the cause and decide what to do about it.
Usually, PCPs can treat conditions in their own offices. If they can't, they can refer you and your child to a trusted specialist. If your child needs ongoing treatment or is admitted to a hospital, the PCP may oversee the care, help you make decisions related to treatment, or refer you to other specialists if needed.
The best preventive care means forming a relationship with a PCP you like and trust, taking your child for scheduled checkups and vaccines, and following the PCP's advice for establishing a healthy lifestyle, managing weight, and getting the right amount of exercise.
Now that we've covered the roles and responsibilities, let's cover the title of this entry and list 5 reasons why a PCP is essential to your health.
1. Your Primary Care Physician Knows You Having an established relationship with your PCP allows him or her to be familiar with you and your family’s medical history. This makes it easier for them to find patterns in your health and know how your body responds to certain illnesses.
When in doubt, call the PCP. Even if the PCP isn't available, someone else in the office can talk with you and determine whether your child should go to the ER. 2. A PCP is Your Entry Point to the Continuum of Care
Having a PCP is a great way to learn how to navigate the somewhat complicated medical system. They can refer you to specialists who may be more knowledgeable about a specific health issue. Through your Taylorville Family Medicine, you have access to a large network of medical specialists throughout the Tuscaloosa area.
A PCP should be your first option for any medical condition that isn't an emergency. Call the PCP if your child has:
a high fever
a headache that doesn't go away
a persistent cough
3. You Have Lower Out-of-Pocket Costs
A primary care physician copay is typically much cheaper than an urgent care center copay. Having a go-to doctor whom you can easily set appointments with creates a much lighter burden on your wallet, especially in the long run. Take a look at your insurance card to see the difference in cost between an office and an urgent care visit. 4. A PCP Can Help You Reach Your Goals
Planning to lose weight, eat better, or live a healthier lifestyle in general? Your primary care physician can work with you to plan out how you can achieve your goals. Your doctor can recommend diets, exercise plans, and more to help you on your wellness journey. We even have a vitamin injection bar 5. You Can Receive High-Quality Preventive Care
In addition to providing care for acute illnesses and chronic conditions, your doctor can help you take measures to prevent their onset. Your PCP keeps track of your health over time, performs preventive services and screenings to catch diseases early, and offers advice to help you maintain a healthy and happy life. ****Establish a relationship with a Taylorville Family Medicine today and start on the path to a healthier you. Our doctor and NPs offer same or next-day appointments, online scheduling, and an extensive list of accepted insurance plans. We will love to take care of you and your family health needs.
To find a PCP, start by asking yourself what matters to you. For instance, you'll want the PCP's office to take your health insurance and, ideally, be close to home. Other things to consider include how helpful and friendly the staff is, how easy it is to get in touch with the PCP, and whether the PCP's office hours will work with your schedule. Give us a call at (205)349-1040 and find out how to be our patient or fill out our patient application on our website.
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