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What is a Primary Care Provider?

 

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.

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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. An MD practices a whole person approach to medicine and focuses on preventative healthcare.

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. DO’s chose to practice in a specific specialty and must maintain board certification and licensure. A DO practices a whole person approach to medicine and focuses on preventative healthcare.

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 an MD or DO. ARNPs conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery and write prescriptions.