Are you new in town? Have a new job? Finally adulting?
If so, chances are you need to select a Primary Care Provider.
Also known as a PCP, a Primary Care Provider is a doctor (or nurse practitioner) that you see for your routine medical needs.
You’ll need a PCP for:
Referrals to specialists
Don't Stumble On These First Steps
If you have medical insurance, check with your insurance company to see if there is a list of PCPs you must choose from.
Most health plans have PCPs who are either "In Network" or "Out of Network." Be sure to choose an In Network PCP or you might have to pay a lot of extra money!
Consider the location of potential providers, distance from your home, and how you will get there.
Jose just moved to a new city and doesn't have a car. Which would be his best option for a PCP?
An office on the bus line
A large practice in another city
A PCP in a small town
His childhood doctor
Find A Pain-Free Fit
Next, consider the following:
Do you have any persistent medical conditions?
If so, look for a larger practice where specialists share a building/campus with the PCP.
Do you prefer a male or female provider?
If this is important to you, be sure to look for your preferred gender.
Do you want a busy practice or a smaller one?
Larger practices have many PCPs to choose from; smaller practices may be more personal but have fewer options.
"ICU" Need References
You wouldn't go to a new and expensive restaurant without checking reviews, so don't skip this step when looking for a PCP!
Ask your friends and acquaintances for recommendations
Read online reviews for the provider and their practice
Check your state's medical board (US) to make sure the PCP is in good standing
How to Check Medical Board Records
For step-by-step instructions on how to look up a PCP's license watch this 2 minute video:
Go With Your Gut
Once you have narrowed down your choices, call and speak with the PCP or their staff to ask any remaining questions. Then make your final decision!
Are the office hours convenient for you?
Do they have telehealth options?
What hospital do they use?
Take note: does the office respond promptly to your call? Are the PCP and staff courteous and helpful?
What is another question you might want to ask the PCP or office staff?
Are you on the bus line?
Is the PCP in my network?
Is it easy to get an appointment ?
Is there a co-pay?
Prioritize your health by finding a PCP who is right for you!
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This Byte has been authored by
Mary Ellen D'Intino
Instructional Designer | Social Worker