The Role of a Primary Care Provider (PCP)
Just as you take your car to the mechanic for a tune-up, you need someone who can take preventive care of you. Because even if you feel fine, blood tests and health screenings are the best indicators of your overall health.
A primary care provider (PCP) is your point person for a health tune-up. These doctors or nurse practitioners help take care of the basics of health care, focusing on wellness and prevention. The PCP is your primary partner for your health. A PCP focuses on your overall health, making sure you get recommended screenings and risk assessments, and also helps navigate you through medical specialists.
Types of PCPs
Having a PCP offers you an ongoing, trusting relationship with one medical professional over time. There are many types of PCPs to choose from:
- Family Medicine Doctors provide care for individuals across their life span, from childhood to adulthood. Their scope of practice may include obstetrics and minor surgery. Family medicine doctors have completed a family medicine residency and are board-certified, or board-eligible, for this specialty.
- Internists provide care for adults of all ages, for many different medical problems. Internists have completed a residency in internal medicine and are board-certified, or board-eligible, in this specialty.
- Pediatricians’ scope of practice includes care of newborns, infants, children, and adolescents. Pediatricians have completed a pediatric residency and are board-certified, or board-eligible, in this specialty.
- Nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) go through a different training and certification process than doctors. They may be your key contact in some practices. All PAs and NPs consult with physicians.
What Does a Primary Care Doctor Do?
Primary care doctors provide a spectrum of care. As Elizabeth Ziemann, M.D., who specializes in family medicine with Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation explains, “I form personal relationships with patients that facilitate a partnership for health and wellness. I’m concerned with
listening and responding to patients’ needs, while simultaneously making recommendations to optimize their health.”
Health guidelines recommend that you establish care with a PCP and visit that provider regularly for preventive screenings and tests that can help prevent the onset of chronic diseases. Specifically, a primary care doctor can:
- Ensure you get recommended medical screenings and health risk assessments
- Provide preventive care and teach healthy lifestyle choices
- Help you get referrals to medical specialists when necessary
- Evaluate the urgency of your medical problems and direct you to the best place for care
Open PCP Practices
Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation has dozens of primary care doctors accepting new patients. View their profiles from the link above or call 1-888-699-DOCS (3627) to find a doctor.