The Role of a Primary Care Physician

​Your primary care physician (PCP) is your go-to doctor for everything related to your health – from getting annual physicals to getting an immunization before flu season. Depending on your needs as a patient, your PCP can:

  • Provide routine care, like regular physical exams and screening tests.
  • Address nonemergency problems, like a cough that isn’t getting better or a minor injury.
  • Answer any healthcare questions or concerns. 
  • Refer you to a specialist if needed, such as a cardiologist or neurologist. 
  • Help you manage any chronic conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure or acid reflux.
  • Help coordinate your care if you develop complicated medical problems, need to see multiple specialists or are hospitalized. (In these situations, your PCP will be part of a care team that works together to provide the care you need, when you need it.)

If you have an HMO health plan, your PCP is your “gatekeeper” to the rest of the healthcare world; they’re the ones who will refer you to specialists or order a test or procedure that you need.

Selecting a Primary Care Physician
How to Select a Primary Care Physician
Types of Primary Care Physicians


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