Answers to three common questions about choosing a primary care provider
As we get older, it’s even more important to make sure we are getting regular doctor’s appointments and checkups. Choosing a primary care provider (PCP) is one way to make sure you’re getting the best care you need for the life you lead. Your PCP serves as your go-to person for medical treatment and coordinated care. Let’s discuss more about what a PCP does, why they are important and how you can find one.
What is a primary care provider?
Your PCP is the person there to help you manage your day-to-day health needs. They know your medical history, educate you on ways to stay healthy and treat you when you’re sick. Also, they can coordinate your care with specialists and other providers in your network. Coordinated care results in better prescription management and access to the right care at the right time.
Different PCPs have expertise in specific illnesses and age groups. Depending on your needs, you will choose from different types of primary care such as family practice, general practice, internal medicine, geriatrics or gynecology. For most people, family practice is a good starting point because they can generally treat patients of varying conditions, gender or age.
Why is it important to have a primary care provider?
According to JAMA Internal Medicine, adults with a PCP were more likely to receive preventive care and filled more prescriptions each year. Proactive preventive care helps identify health concerns earlier, especially when identified by someone who knows your medical history. PCPs help patients better manage chronic concerns such as arthritis, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
PCPs work with networks of health care providers which include hospitals, specialists, skilled nursing facilities, and home health care agencies. If you encounter health problems that require a specialized expert, your PCP can refer you to the right in-network specialist who can best meet your individual needs. Coordination of care between your PCP, specialists and health plan provides the right care at the right place and time. Your prescriptions will also be better managed.
While most Medicare Advantage plans require that all of your health care team is in network, most networks still offer plenty of options to make sure you get the right care. ApexHealth is proud to work closely with an integrated network of providers and hospitals, anchored by Atrium Health and Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, to ensure our members get unmatched expertise and personalized care. With access to Atrium Health’s unmatched expertise and the premier service of ApexAssistants, ApexHealth provides a more accessible, personalized experience so that you can live life boldly.
How can I find a primary care provider?
Now that we know what a PCP is and why they’re important, how can you choose one? Here are three quick tips to help:
Tip #1: Find someone in your network
ApexHealth Medicare Advantage plan members can use our online search tool to find a doctor, hospital, dentist or other specialist in our provider network. Our provider directory is also available on our website or by mail. You can call (844) 279-0508 and ask an ApexAssistant to do the searching for you or order your printed copy of our provider directory!
If you have Original Medicare, Medicare.gov has an online tool to help you find Medicare-approved providers in your area. Just enter in your location and the type of doctor you’re looking for to learn more about the ways their office will charge for treatment. You can also call the provider’s office directly and ask if they accept Medicare or your Medicare Advantage plan.
Tip #2: Find someone convenient and experienced in treating your conditions
Look for a provider who is easy to get to. Call their office to see when they will be available and make sure that range fits within your needs and expectations. Also make sure the doctor can treat your specific conditions and that they communicate with you in ways you prefer.
Tip #3: Make a personal connection
Before your first visit, call or go by the office. Get to know the staff, the wait time for an appointment and ask any other questions you may have about their experience or treatment methods. When choosing a PCP, it’s important to find someone with whom you feel comfortable discussing all of your health concerns.
Choosing the right PCP means putting your care in the hands of someone you trust so you can continue to live life boldly. Don’t forget, ApexAssistants are here to help you find a doctor, schedule appointments for you and answer any questions you may have. Give us a call at (844) 279-0508 (TTY: 711). Our hours of operation are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. (local time) from Apr. 1 through Sept. 30 and seven days a week 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. (local time) from Oct. 1 through Mar. 31.