Selecting and establishing a relationship with a primary care provider, or “Family Doctor,” is becoming more and more important in our changing health care system. By working with a primary care physician, you and your family can utilize your health coverage in the best possible way. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are many benefits to using a family doctor:
Primary care providers can better personalize your care by getting to know you, your medical history, and your health situation.
It is also becoming more common place for the Provider to meet with you before accepting you as a patient.
Family doctors are great for yearly check-ups and can help screen for major health-related conditions in an effort to catch illnesses as early as possible.
Visiting a primary care doctor as a “first line of defense” whenever possible can help save you a lot of money. Most insurance plans have low co-payments for visiting your regular doctor, versus higher payments for walk-in clinics and emergency room visits. A preventative visits like yearly checkups, pap smears, and cancer screenings can often cost you nothing when getting them done through your primary care provider.
Getting an appointment with a provider can take weeks. But once you’ve established a relationship with a primary care provider, you’ll generally find it faster to get appointments when you need them in the future. In most situations, you can call your established Primary Care Provider’s nurse and get an appointment within a day or two.
So how do you get a primary care provider?
Visit your health insurance’s website and click on “Find a Provider.” You can search for a variety of practitioners and criteria, such as those accepting new patients. If you have a particular doctor in mind, you can search by that provider’s name. Once you find a provider, call and make an appointment. Follow these links for more info:
In Billings, you can also call the Billings Clinic 238-2500, St. Vincent’s 237-7000, or a private practice. Tell the receptionist that you would like to find a primary care physician and make an appointment. (TIP – if you aren’t sick, make an appointment for a yearly check-up) Have your insurance card handy when you call.
And as always, if you have questions, please call me, Ben Surwill, at 406-248-3956. I’m happy to help!