Having a primary care provider can help you live longer and healthier
(Part 1 of a three-part series exploring the importance of establishing a relationship with a primary care provider.)
Finding the right primary care provider and establishing a long-term relationship is key to living an active and healthy life.
Our primary care providers at Gritman’s Moscow Family Medicine and our rural and specialty clinics are dedicated to providing you compassionate and comprehensive care, whether it be for a minor skin ailment or a chronic condition like diabetes.
“We know that health care is more accessible and that people get better care if they see a consistent primary care provider,” Dr. Bryn Parker, a family practice obstetrician at Gritman|MFM, said. “Having a consistent provider who knows you and your history, and that you have a trusting relationship with, just results in better care.”
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), patients with a primary care provider received significantly more high-value care and reported significantly better health care access and experience. They were also more likely to have routine preventive visits, cancer screening, diagnostic and preventing testing, diabetes care and counseling.
Having a primary care provider can also save you from costly medical bills. According to the American College of Physicians (ACP), Americans with a primary care provider have an average of 33% lower health care costs than those who only use specialists for their care.
What services and treatments are offered by primary care providers?
Primary care providers can treat common ailments like respiratory infections, headaches, back pain and urinary infections, and they also manage chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, anxiety and depression.
A primary care provider can coordinate all your care needs from preventative measures, like tetanus and shingles vaccinations, to colonoscopies and pap smears so you are fully protected against preventable diseases.
Most conditions can be treated by a primary care provider without the direct intervention of a specialist, resulting in lower costs and increased convenience for the patient. When specialists like a rheumatologist or cardiologist are required, a primary care provider can make sure your other health needs are met and that your various treatments meld well with each other.
“A primary care doctor can make sure you see the right specialists for the conditions you have and help those specialists work together to provide optimal care for you,” said Dr. John Brown, Gritman’s chief medical officer.
How do I establish a relationship with a primary care provider?
Finding a primary care provider you are comfortable with can be a source of anxiety. Ask your friends and other community members about their experiences.
“We are fortunate that all our Moscow physicians and midlevel providers provide excellent care, so concerns about quality are less urgent than others such as insurance coverage, location, hours and personality fit,” Dr. Brown said.
Dr. Brown also recommends finding the right provider before you have a crisis situation, as a first visit is usually longer and may need to be scheduled out for several weeks in the future.
Bring as much health data – immunization records, medical records, medication information, surgical history, etc. – to your visit.
If you find you want to change primary care providers, just request that your records be transferred. Providers understand that this will happen at times and will not take offense.
To schedule an appointment, call:
- Moscow Family Medicine (Downtown and Westside): 208-882-2011
- Internal Medicine: 208-883-1152
- Kendrick Family Care: 208-289-3841
- Potlatch Family Care: 208-875-2380
- Troy Clinic: 208-835-5550