What is a Primary Care Provider (PCP)?
A primary care provider (PCP) is a family physician, internal or adult medicine physician or pediatrician. This provider takes care of a patient’s basic needs across a wide continuum of different problems. He or she is the first point of contact for a person with a medical or health concern and gets to know the patient personally over time. The primary care provider cares about the patient’s whole health package including aspects of preventative care such as immunizations, mammograms and colonoscopies. This provider makes sure the patient receives the proper care and coordinates with specialists as needed.
Importance of Having a Primary Care Provider
At McFarland Clinic we encourage all of our patients to have a primary care provider (PCP). “I think the advantages of choosing a primary care provider at McFarland Clinic is the coordination of care within your provider’s office. We can coordinate your care with other providers that we work with every day,” said Dr. Donald Skinner, family medicine physician at McFarland Clinic, “We know these providers personally and we have the confidence that they are going to deliver the same kind of care that we want to deliver to our patients and that the patient expects.”
Types of Primary Care Providers Include:
MD: Is a doctor of medicine. MD physicians have completed four years of medical school and 3-6 years of graduate medical training through internships, residencies and fellowships. MDs chose to practice in a specific specialty and must maintain board certification and licensure.
DO: Is a doctor of osteopathic medicine. DO physicians have completed four years of medical school and 3-6 years of graduate medical training through internships, residencies and fellowships. DOs chose to practice in a specific specialty and must maintain board certification and licensure.
PA-C: Is a physician assistant, certified. PA-C providers are licensed to practice medicine alongside of an MD or DO. Physician assistants conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive healthcare, assist in surgery and write prescriptions.
ARNP: Is an advanced registered nurse practitioner. ARNP providers are registered nurses who are licensed to practice medicine alongside of an MD or DO. ARNPs conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive healthcare, assist in surgery and write prescriptions.
How do I choose a Primary Care Provider?
When choosing a primary care provider a person should look for a provider that they feel comfortable with. “I always believe that you have to have a comfort level with your provider,” said Dr. Skinner, “How you communicate, do you feel comfortable when you visit this person, do they show an interest in you, do you have a chance to ask questions and get your questions answered appropriately to your satisfaction.” There is also the added value of availability and for a patient to be able to see the same person over time.
If you do not have a primary care provider already established, McFarland Clinic can help you find a provider for you. Please contact our patient care services department at (515) 239-4465 for more information.