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Why Everyone Needs a Primary Care Physician

POSTED BY: Florida Hospital

We get it. You’re a busy professional with a crazy schedule; a working mother who can barely keep up with her kids’ medical appointments, much less your own; a young person who’s never had a serious health issue; or perhaps you’re just new to the area and haven’t gotten around to picking a doctor yet. 

You know you’re “supposed to” have a primary care physician (PCP), but the truth is you’re not really sure why.

After all, if you break your arm, you’ll just go to the emergency room. If you get the flu, you can always seek treatment at one of the urgent care or walk-in clinics around town. Heck, your local pharmacy might even offer basic medical services. So what’s the big deal about having a PCP? Keep reading and we think you’ll be convinced.

A doctor who knows you can be more effective in keeping you healthy.

Your regular physician has a baseline on your overall health condition that no one else does. Because this doctor has collected regular records of your immunizations, vital signs and other health measures, he or she can more easily pinpoint when something is not right. And because this doctor knows you as an individual – your past medical issues, your personal health goals, your values and preferences – he or she can tailor your treatment to what fits you best.

You are also more likely to mention an emerging health concern or ask a question about your health when you have an ongoing relationship with your provider and feel comfortable talking to that person. This means you’re more likely to receive treatment for a problem that might otherwise have gone unnoticed, with possible long-term consequences.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

If you don’t have a PCP you visit regularly, you’re short-changing yourself. That’s because a BIG part of what PCPs do is preventive care – including regular health screenings for things like high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes and so much more. Having regular checkups with your PCP can help you avoid preventable illnesses, and help ensure that a potentially serious health issue is caught early, when treatment can be most effective.
A PCP ensures consistent, coordinated care that benefits YOU.

If you receive medical care from a number of providers, your PCP (your family medicine physician or internal medicine physician) is the one who will keep track of your medications to ensure they are all working together. He or she will work closely with your specialists to be sure everyone is on the same page in terms of your treatment plan. And, by being a central point of contact for other providers, your PCP can ensure that you avoid potentially unnecessary or duplicate health testing.

Regular primary care is more affordable than emergency care.

Receiving preventive health services from your PCP can help you avoid preventable illnesses that may be costly from both a health and financial perspective. Beyond this, in many cases, the up-front costs and insurance co-pays for an Emergency Room visit are substantially higher than those at a PCP office. Besides, an ER is NOT the place to address a non-emergency health issue if you can avoid it. While ERs are popular sources of non-urgent medical help during off-hours, they are best equipped to handle those who are in dire need. Meanwhile, most primary care providers reserve time in their schedules for same-day or next-day sick appointments for their established patients.

Your PCP links you to a comprehensive network of care.

Physicians within the Florida Hospital Medical Group (FHMG) are part of the largest multi-specialty practice in Central Florida with nearly 500 physicians, specialists, and surgeons. So if you need more advanced care in just about any area of expertise, they – and you – have access to a broad network of top specialists in their fields, along with the state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment facilities of Florida Hospital.

It’s EASY to pick a PCP and make an appointment.

If you’re ready to select a PCP, FHMG’s user-friendly physician finder at FHMedicalGroup.com is designed to help you find the physician who best fits your needs. Search by zip code, specialty, languages spoken, ages served and more. Our board-certified physicians and advanced practitioners are located throughout Central Florida and are backed by the world-class Florida Hospital network of care.

Find a well-qualified primary care physician near you at FHMedicalGroup.com.