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When you hear the phrase Primary Care Physician, do you know who that is? Let me introduce you.
I grew up in a small town. Our town was lucky enough to have our own doctor. Our town’s doctor was Dr. Sanders, and he was my doctor. In fact, he took care of everyone in my family. We went to him for sports and school physicals every year, and saw him when we had a stomach ache or a cold. When I fell and took out the corner of the coffee table with my chin, Dr. Sanders stitched me up. He took care of all that, times hundreds, every day. He was our town doctor for decades, until he retired at age 70.
We also called Dr. Sanders our “family doctor.” Today, he would be called a primary care physician, or PCP. A PCP may practice family medicine, general medicine, pediatrics, women’s health or geriatrics.
While medicine has changed a lot over the years, the role of the primary care physician hasn’t changed much. He or she is still e the one who takes care of you through all of the ups and downs of your health. And it is who you would call first when you have a health problem. If you said “I need to call the doctor,” this is “the doctor” you would mean.
The Pew Research Center has a study that showed that 1 out of 3 adult Americans in our modern day “cough and click culture” – meaning they go to the web first for health information. While the web is a good place for health information, it isn’t the best place to go if you have symptoms and want to know what the real problem is. It can’t take the place of a health care expert who can run tests, talk through your symptoms and make sure you see a specialist if needed. For example, the fatigue and joint pain you are having may lead you to worry that you have Lupus, a chronic and devastating disease. A doctor may quickly rule out Lupus and may instead trace your problems to lack of sleep, stress, certain meds or other root causes that can be an easy fix.
If you have “your” doctor, or PCP, you are already on your way to better health. Having your own personal doctor is one of the most important thing you can do for your health. It means you’ll have someone in your corner making sure you get the care you need.
Do You Have an HMO Plan?That doctor-patient relationship is at the center of an HMO plan. An HMO, or Health Maintenance Organization, relies on the PCP to manage your health in order to control your costs and keep your health on track. Your HMO, Your PCP and You To make the most of your relationship with your PCP and get the most out of your HMO, keep these tips in mind:
So, What's the Difference Between a PCP and an HCP?
According to UC Berkely, a Health Care Practitioner (HCP) is a person who has been trained in a specific kind of medicine to help target health issues. These can be doctors, nurses or specialists.
Most often a doctor (MD), a primary care provider (PCP) is a health care practitioner who manages a patient’s health over a long period of time. This is a care provider who sees people that have common medical concerns or are seeing preventive care. A PCP can also be a physician assistant or a nurse practitioner.
Both will file claims with your insurance provider. Long story short, a PCP is a type of HCP, but an HCP might not be a PCP. It is always a good idea to talk to your doctor—by that we mean your PCP-- about any other treatments that you receive from a specialist or other provider or HCP. Make sense?
To get information about your health plan or need to find a PCP, log on to Blue Access for Members and use our Provider Finder, a search tool that lists the providers who are part of your HMO plan’s provider network.
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