Primary care providers (PCP) manage day-to-day health needs. A long-term relationship with a PCP keeps you healthier and lowers medical costs. A PCP can teach you ways to stay healthy, treat you when you’re sick and help you get more advanced care when you need it. Finding the right PCP for you takes time but improves your well-being in the long run.
Have you visited your PCP lately? If you don't have a PCP, or lately you've been a stranger, you could be missing out on a critical piece of your health care: an ongoing relationship with a provider who knows you well.
A PCP is a doctor or other medical provider who sees you for most medical needs, including routine checkups. He or she is usually the first person you talk to when you have any medical problem that is not an emergency. During visits, your provider monitors your health and symptoms for any changes. They also help make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date and that you're getting any recommended screenings for diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, or cancer.
Primary care providers throughout T.J. Regional Health offer a variety of services for you and your family, including:
- Management of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, asthma, thyroid problems and diabetes.
- Care for minor illnesses, such as colds, flu and sore throats.
- Sports physicals.
- Minor office procedures, like skin biopsies and joint injections.
- Evaluations for minor injuries and musculoskeletal problems.
- Referrals to specialty medical care. If you do develop a condition that may require a specialty physician, your PCP can refer you to one. Health care can be complicated when you have more than one provider to see. A PCP makes navigating your care with other specialists and testing easier.
How do I find a primary care provider?
It's important to find a provider with whom you are comfortable so that you can develop a long-term relationship. Look for a PCP who is qualified, who fits your personality and that accepts your insurance plan. Many strategies can help you identify the right provider:
- Talk to people you trust such as family members, friends and neighbors.
- Ask other healthcare professionals such as your dentist, a nurse or another doctor.
- Ask your health insurance company to help you find someone nearby who accepts your insurance.
- Search our online provider directory to find information about providers in the T.J. network.
A PCP can help you stay healthy and can be the first to treat any health problems that arise. It's worth your time to find a PCP who is a partner in your long-term care and to have regular checkups.
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