The Importance of “Establishing” with a Primary Care Provider
Maybe you’re young, healthy and very, very busy. Maybe you’re not as young as you used to be and see specialists regularly for heart issues or women’s health. Do you really need a primary care provider? The short answer: “Yes, you do.”
For those who would say that you’re perfectly healthy and always have been with the exception of that broken arm in the third grade and the occasional cold, guess what? You still need a primary care provider.
For those that say, “I’ve been to Caswell Family Medical Center in the past – does that mean they are my primary care provider?” Here’s where it gets tricky: If you’ve ever ‘walked in’ to CFMC and only been seen for a cold or another acute issue, you would be considered a past patient of CFMC, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are established for primary care.
I’ve walked into CFMC before and have been seen. Why can’t I now?
In the past, CFMC offered access to care on a walk-in basis. Unfortunately, a series of events in the summer of 2016 required CFMC to abruptly change the model of care delivery to a more traditional model of primary care. This created a lot of confusion and has left a void in terms of access to walk-in urgent/acute care in the community for those who are established for primary care with providers other than CFMC.
Rest assured, CFMC is well on the way toward providing a new solution to fill this void. This time, great care and concern are being applied to ensure that the model will be sustainable and capable of providing reliable access for those needing urgent care services for years to come. However, there’s still a need for the community to understand that this new service will be separate from the primary care services that CFMC currently provides.
What’s the difference between primary care and urgent/acute care?
Primary Care Provider:
As the saying goes, “No one knows you like your family doctor,” which is actually a very true statement. Not to say that other doctors don’t know your past medical history or current medications, but a primary care physician often has years of weight gain or loss, blood pressure, blood tests, and illnesses right there on file.
Your primary care provider should know your full medical history and understand your health and your healthcare goals. Your primary care provider will know that you’re trying to drop another 20 pounds and that you have had a bad reaction to one particular antibiotic.
They will talk through issues like nutrition and stress management and take the time to review your latest bloodwork results with you. Your primary care provider will help you stay on top of important screenings that can make sure you stay as healthy as possible and, should anything like diabetes, high-blood pressure or even cancer try to creep up, hopefully, it can be caught early enough to prevent the disease from becoming devastating.
Most importantly – and something CFMC Primary Care takes seriously: your primary care physician will serve as a ‘central hub’ for all the health care that you receive.
Your care can be coordinated among all the hospitals and specialists that you see to ensure that everyone has access to the same information. This is a critical component in ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks that could result in harmful outcomes for you.
Urgent care, which can also be referred to as immediate care, bridges the gap between an injury that’s too urgent to wait for the primary care physician and the life-threatening situation that calls for a trip to the emergency room.
Urgent Care is built around patient convenience in that patients are treated on a walk-in basis without the need for an appointment. Anyone that has visited an emergency room, knows that it’s costly. On the other hand, if you wait days for an appointment with your Primary Care Provider, you run the risk of your condition getting worse and requiring more complex treatment.
This is where Urgent Care takes place. Before running for the emergency room when you think you may possibly have a broken bone, try to find an urgent care that has x-rays on site, first. It’s often cheaper, faster, and requires little hassle!
Can your primary care provider see you if you have a cold or flu? Or even a broken bone?
Sure they can. CFMC Primary Care keeps appointment spots open to offer “Same Day” access to established patients.
What do I have to do to be “established”?
It all starts with answering the question: When was the last time you were seen for a thorough review of your overall health? If you don’t know the answer to this question, there’s a high likelihood that you are not established.
However, the process is easy – call CFMC Primary Care at 336-694-9331 and schedule an appointment. We have appointments readily available, and even appointments outside normal business hours (we are open until 7PM on Thursdays).