Why Do I Need a Primary Care Physician?

Photo of Dr. Childress looking at a patient in a primary care office

According to a 2018 study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 45 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds and 28 percent of 30- to 40-year-olds didn’t have a primary care provider. 

Does this mean you shouldn’t have one either?

If that question is on our mind, let’s start by taking a look at some important facts about primary care.

FACT #1: Having a Primary Care Doctor Can Help Your Health

In a 2019 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers surveyed 49,286 adults with and 21,133 adults without primary care. They concluded that those with primary care received significantly better care than those without. 

FACT #2: Having a Primary Care Physician Tends to Provide a Better Healthcare Experience

In this same study, those who regularly visited a primary care provider reported significantly better health care access and experiences than those who did not. Consistent care made people more confident in the quality of care they receive and more knowledgeable about their health. 

FACT #3: A “Medical Home” Comes with Benefits

When you regularly visit a primary care physician, you have one point person who can refer you to specialists as needed. They also monitor your progress through treatment, following up to ensure you are healing. 

“Your primary care physician essentially serves as your ‘medical home’,” said Dr. Childress, a primary care physician at University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Group – Primary Care. “We are part of a growing network of talented medical professionals. So when we refer you to a specialist, we can keep track of your care throughout your time with them.”

FACT #4: Self-Referrals Can Be Costly (to Your Wallet and Health)

Without a primary care physician to monitor their health, people often go directly to the specialist they think is best when a problem arises. Maybe they are experiencing chest pain, so they visit a cardiologist. 

But what happens if those tests can’t determine the problem? If the chest pain is caused by something other than a cardiac condition — such as a gastrointestinal issue or a lung problem — the patient will be stuck searching for the right specialist, traveling to different offices and, most likely, incurring increasing out-of-pocket expenses. 

“Working with a primary care physician can end up eliminating the need for many costly tests,” says Kelli Goldsborough, a nurse practitioner at University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Group – Primary Care. “You’ll end up saving precious time and money by getting a professional opinion instead of guessing on your own.”

FACT #5: Primary Care Physicians Take a Holistic Approach to Health Care

The primary focus of your physician is on taking every aspect of how you feel into account and creating a complete picture of your health care. They can save you time and money by evaluating your health instead of focusing on the treatment of individual symptoms. 

Countless reports emphasize the need for regular visits with a primary care physician. If you want to get or keep your health on track, it is highly recommended that you start developing a relationship with one.

So are you ready to find a primary care physician you can trust? Or are you looking for more information about how regular visits with a primary care physician can help you? Call 301-609-5044 or visit our website to make your appointment today.

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