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What is a Primary Care Physician (PCP)?

doctor talking to young female patient as he writes notes on clipboard

Most insurance these days require patients to choose a primary care physician (PCP). What is a PCP and why do we need one? Let’s break it down.

Primary Care and your PCP

What is primary care? It’s wellness. In our current health climate, there has been a paradigm shift from merely caring for illness, disease, and injury to pre-emptive care and health maintenance. Your care practitioner can best serve you if they get to know you and your health history, your genetic predispositions, and your nutrition and lifestyle. A PCP is comparable to the family doctor of old, responsible for your care and that of your family. They practice general medicine, provide diagnoses, prescribe medication, and refer you to a specialist when you need one.

General Medicine

General medicine covers a range of health conditions – from wellness check-ups and physicals to temporary illness care for a cold or flu, sinus infection or high blood pressure. The medical conditions for which a PCP provides care may range from acute to chronic. An acute condition is severe and sudden in onset and could be anything from an asthma attack to a broken leg to a heart attack. It comes on suddenly and the medical response is immediate. A chronic condition comes on slowly, building up over time, like atherosclerosis or degenerative osteoarthritis. Regardless of your need, your PCP will oversee your treatment regime, order any required tests or screenings to determine a plan of action. They will order medicine, surgery, physical therapy or tests as needed, and give you referrals to specialists if necessary. They will take charge of any post-operative care you require. If your PCP is board certified in an area of expertise, they may provide you with additional care. Examples of specialized PCPs include internists, gynecologists, or geriatric specialists.

The Mission of a Primary Care Physician

The overarching mission of a primary care physician is to keep you or return you to a state of wellness, or as close to a state of wellness, as possible. This is holistic care and a new multi-faceted approach to health. If you are having trouble with insomnia or restlessness, your PCP will help you find a solution. You don’t have to be “sick” to see your doctor. Sometimes we just feel off – from depression or fatigue, or too much stress. Your primary care physician will help you get back to feeling you. If you live in the Denton, Texas area and are looking for a new and refreshing approach to an all-inclusive medical practice, contact us at the Connections Wellness Group or call (940) 222-2399.