Learn about Primary Care Physicians in Asheville, NC
What is a Primary Care Physician?
In the past people relied on family doctors for everything from broken bones and the common cold to the delivery of babies. Family practitioners knew the medical history of the entire family because they treated both the children and the parents. Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) are bringing this tradition back. Instead of specializing in a specific area of medicine, PCPs help patients maintain overall health by focusing on preventive care. Some, but not all, insurance companies require patients to choose a Primary Care Physician. Check with your insurance company to see if you’re required to select a PCP.
How does a Doctor qualify as Primary Care Physician?
There are 24 specialties in medicine but typically only three qualify as PCPs. Although some women may think their Obstetrician/Gynecologist qualifies as a PCP, in most cases only doctors with the following three specialties are considered PCPs:
Family Practice or General Practice: A family practitioner is qualified to care for the entire family. A family practitioner can be board-certified and have training in a variety of subjects including Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Internal Medicine and Psychiatry. This specialty was more common in years past but can still be found to treat the entire family.
Internal Medicine: An internist can diagnose and treat disease with medicine. An internist is not a surgeon. There are several sub-specialties an internist can have, including: specializing in a particular organ, like the lungs or the kidneys, a particular disease, like diabetes, or a particular age group, like the elderly.
Pediatrics: A pediatrician specializes in the overall well-being of children. Most pediatricians treat children from birth until adolescence or about 14 years old. Pediatricians can have sub-specialties such as surgery or pediatric cardiology.