Many patients have a primary care provider (PCP) merely because their medical insurance requires it. However, establishing a meaningful and ongoing relationship with a physician that you trust is essential to maintaining the highest quality primary and preventive care.
A PCP is a family medicine or internal medicine doctor who serves as your first point of contact when you experience symptoms of illness or disease. They play an important role in your overall care. So, having both a qualified primary care physician and a relationship with them that is positive and transparent can help you achieve and maintain good health throughout the better part of your life.
Tips on Selecting a Primary Care Provider
Here is how to look for a PCP with whom you can feel comfortable:
Start by Determining Which Doctors are In-network with your Insurance Plan.
Your insurance plan negotiates special, discounted rates with certain doctors and hospitals in your local area. By seeing a PCP in your insurance company’s network, you will pay less out-of-pocket costs than you would when seeing an out-of-network PCP. Simply check your plan’s directory to find a conveniently located in-network doctor.
Look for a Doctor with Expertise that Matches your Health Needs.
Once you have a list of in-network doctors, start narrowing it down. There are several types of doctors that identify as primary care providers. A family practice doctor treats patients of all ages and is a generalist who can treat a wide variety of conditions, as well as some ailments for which you would normally see a specialist – for example, sports injuries or women’s health issues. An internal medicine physician typically treats and specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and management of diseases and chronic conditions. General practitioners, like family practice physicians, can treat patients of any age and gender, but might also be an osteopath, a physician who practices medicine that focuses on the musculoskeletal system with a D.O. after their name instead of M.D. You can consult an online directory to find an in-network doctor with any of these designations.
Ask Someone you Know for a Referral.
You might feel most comfortable visiting a PCP who is recommended by a family member, coworker, or friend. Of course, you can also ask another healthcare professional, such as your current primary care doctor, if you are moving to a new location.
Search for a Doctor with an Office that is Logistically Convenient for you to Visit.
Also, consider factors such as appointment availability, whether the practice offers same-day appointments, and whether the provider affords long enough appointment times with patients. Communication is also an important consideration. You need to be able to converse clearly with your chosen PCP to understand each other – especially if English is your second language.
Arrange a Preliminary Face-to-face Meeting.
It’s the only way to be sure you are compatible with your new doctor. Talk with them about your medical history and any current medications you are taking to gauge whether you are in sync about managing any chronic conditions you have. While there, also evaluate the office environment. How does the staff treat patients? Are they friendly, efficient, and accommodating? Do they answer phone calls in a timely manner? More importantly, how do they treat you? How long must you wait to see the doctor once you’ve arrived for your appointment?
Primary Care Provider Near You in South Florida and Central Florida
At Palm Medical Centers, our board-certified primary care physicians are highly trained and experienced professionals who value their relationships with patients. Our doctors strive to have a significant and positive impact on the health and well-being of the whole family.
Utilizing the latest advances in medical techniques and technology, we not only diagnose, treat, and support our patients but also provide personalized, comprehensive healthcare – with an emphasis on preventive care – to help you live your best life.
To learn more about our primary care services or to become a Palm Medical Centers patient, call us today at (833) 500-PALM (7256). We have 26 medical centers conveniently located throughout South Florida and Central Florida to serve you. You can schedule a tour of your preferred office, at no cost or obligation to you.