The Brain and Spine Institute is made up of experts in the field of neuroscience in order to bring patients the best healthcare in East Tennessee for a full range of neurological diseases and disorders.
A primary care provider (PCP) is a health care practitioner who sees people that have common medical problems. This person is most often a doctor. However, a PCP may be a physician assistant or a nurse practitioner. Your PCP is often involved in your care for a long time. Therefore, it is important to choose someone with whom you will work well.
Family doctor - how to choose one; Primary care provider - how to choose one; Doctor - how to choose a family doctor
A PCP is your main health care provider in non-emergency situations. Your PCP's role is to:
Primary care is most often provided in an outpatient setting. However, if you are admitted to the hospital, your PCP may assist in or direct your care, depending on the circumstances.
Having a PCP can give you a trusting, ongoing relationship with one medical professional over time. You can choose from several different types of PCPs:
Many insurance plans limit the providers you can choose from, or provide financial incentives for you to select from a specific list of providers. Make sure you know what your insurance covers before starting to narrow down your options.
When choosing a PCP, also consider the following:
You can get referrals from:
Another option is to request an appointment to "interview" a potential provider. There may be no cost to do this, or you may be charged a co-payment or other small fee. Some practices, particularly pediatric practice groups, may have an open house where you have an opportunity to meet several of the providers in that particular group.
If a health care problem comes up and you do not have a primary health care provider, in most cases, it is best to seek non-emergency care from an urgent care center rather than a hospital emergency room. This will often save you time and money. In recent years, many emergency rooms have expanded their services to include urgent care within the emergency room itself or an adjoining area. To find out, call the hospital first.
Jackson GL, Powers BJ, Chatterjee R, et al. Improving patient care. The patient centered medical home. A systematic review. Ann Intern Med. 2013;158(3):169-178. PMID: 24779044 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24779044.
Rohrer JE, Angstman KB, Garrison GM, Pecina JL, Maxson JA. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants are complements to family medicine physicians. Population Health Management. 2013;16(4):242-5. PMID: 23537159 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23537159.
Review Date: 8/14/2015
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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