I’ve heard many people say that since they are healthy they don’t need a primary care provider. They are wrong. Primary care is not just for people with chronic health conditions, although everyone with a chronic concern like high blood pressure or asthma should definitely have a primary care provider. Let’s look at a fictional typical young and healthy patient and see how they are cared for with and without primary care.
Jessica is 28 years old. She is in good health overall and moved to Washington, DC two years ago for a job. Since arriving she has gone to an Urgent Care twice for a UTI (urinary tract infection) and once for a sinus infection. She knows she is allergic to penicillin but can’t recall the names of the antibiotics she has taken for these infections. She has also seen a dermatologist for a skin issue twice. She has not been to a gynecologist since she moved here. She does not have a primary care provider. She relies on Google and Yelp reviews to find healthcare and so far this approach is working for her as far as she is concerned. Her copays are 75$ for each Urgent Care visit and $40 for the dermatologist or other specialists.
Let’s imagine Jessica begins to see a primary care provider (PCP). She schedules a physical every one to two years with a copay of $0 (it’s fully covered by insurance). These visits focus on preventative health and in addition to the physical exam, screening lab tests, and review of vaccination status her provider collects a family history, list of allergies and medications, and social history that includes her lifestyle. Jessica discusses her recent fatigue and the dietary changes she is making as she trains for a team triathlon. Her PCP orders a B12 test and the results show a low level of B12 and with supplementation she notices a significant improvement. She tells her provider about her healthcare visits from the past two years and signs a release to have her records transferred to her primary care office. Now all of her records are in one place. The PCP recommends a “well woman exam” for Jessica so she also has the recommended Pap smear and STD screening as her PCP takes care of her GYN needs as well. Her primary care provider is looking out for her overall physical and mental health.
Now, when she needs refills of her dermatologic cream, she requests them from her primary care office, saving $40. When she awakens one morning with symptoms of another UTI she calls her PCP and gets a same day appointment where she is prescribed an appropriate antibiotic given her allergy and the medications and culture results of her past infections, paying only $20 instead of $75. Further, she is screened for STDs regularly, protecting her fertility for when is ready to start a family. When she plans a vacation to Asia with her friends she is able to get the vaccines she needs to travel safely, and medications including antibiotics and motion sickness prevention to bring with her just in case.
So again, why does Jessica need primary care if she is a healthy young person? A good primary care provider offers holistic and preventative healthcare for people of all ages and in all states of health. Having a primary care office is the healthiest, most efficient, and cost effective way to take care of your health. At Promenade Primary Care we will take all of your past and current health issues into consideration as well as your lifestyle and health goals to provide you with the best care possible. Since we are a small private practice, we can truly personalize your care and establish close provider/patient relationships. And we will make it easy.