What is the difference between a primary care physician and a specialist?

They work with your PCP to provide care based on their respective specialties. There are also doctors who focus on children, called pediatricians, who will be your child's primary care doctors. Your primary care doctor should coordinate your care with that of the specialist to ensure that you do not undergo any treatment or medication that may be especially risky for you, depending on your medical history, prescriptions, or other reasons. If you have an HMO, your primary care doctor will also be the person to refer you to a specialist.

A primary care doctor, or general practitioner, is the person you should go to for most preventive care and health problems as they arise. The researchers studied data from nearly 4 million Medicare beneficiaries over 65 who had at least two or more chronic conditions. Your primary care doctor should be someone you trust and can be trusted to help you manage your health care. While some groups may require you to pay more for specialized care, the co-pays for office visits in the categories listed below cost the same as a regular visit to a health professional or your primary care doctor.

Many doctors now use email or an online portal to communicate with patients, which can be another important element for tech-savvy communicators when selecting a doctor. Whether you're just buying Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance, recently moved, or are ready for a change, selecting a primary care doctor is an important first step in managing your health care. If you're a Blue Cross member, this information will help you learn about your options for receiving care from primary care doctors and specialists. There are several different types of doctors who identify themselves as primary care doctors, usually family medicine, internal medicine, or general medicine.

If you need to see a specialist in another area, such as a dermatologist, you'll need to get a referral from your primary care doctor. You can also ask another health professional with whom you have a relationship for a recommendation, such as a women's primary care doctor, pharmacist, or even your dentist. Many people feel more comfortable seeing a doctor recommended by someone they know, such as a family member, co-worker, or friend. If for any reason you're not happy with your choice, most Blue Cross Blue Shield plans allow you to change your primary care doctor at any time during the plan year.

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