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Picking Your Primary Care Physician

  • Category: Blog
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  • Written By: Centinela Hospital Medical Center
Picking Your Primary Care Physician

Choosing your primary care physician is an important part of your healthcare routine. This is the healthcare professional you will see for most of your preventative and medical care needs. When it is time for you to choose your primary care physician, you want to make sure you understand their role, what they can do for you, and why they are so important.

The Role of Your Primary Care Physician

The primary care physician—often referred to as a PCP—is the doctor or nurse practitioner who will be there to help with all of the basic healthcare needs. This means they are there to focus on your overall health, recommend specific risk assessments or screenings, and helping you if you are in need of a specialist. They can also assist with blood tests and preventative care of your overall health.

The primary care physician is your main partner in your health and medical care. They are often there for regular checkups and appointments during which you may receive a number of different tests or screenings to help prevent certain diseases or conditions.

Overall, the PCP can:

  • Ensure you receive testing or assessments
  • Provide you with information regarding a healthy lifestyle
  • Set up referrals to medical specialists for various treatment options
  • Determine if a situation is urgent and recommend proper action

The Different Types of PCPs

There are different types of primary care physicians depending on a number of factors. For instance, a family medicine doctor is a PCP that cares for individuals at all age levels from children to adults. Their practice often includes minor surgery, obstetrics, and they may have certain specialties. Internists usually provide care for adults throughout all ages, not focusing on one specific medical problem.

A pediatrician provides healthcare for newborns, infants, and children. Other types of primary care physicians include nurse practitioners and physician assistants. These physicians go through a different training and earn a different certification than doctors do, often playing a key role in your healthcare needs.

What You Should Look For

Before you make your decision on a PCP, recognize their importance in your life. They are your healthcare partner and will be there to help you make important decisions. This means you need to know you’re choosing the right one. Here are some things you should look for when picking your primary care physician:

  • In-network. Make sure they are covered by your insurance so you’re not left paying the entire amount billed.
  • Expertise. You want to know that the physician fits your needs. Check to make sure their expertise is in line with your health and conditions.
  • Relationship. Meet the doctor personally and make sure you feel comfortable with them. They should be your doctor for a long time, and you don’t want to feel like you can’t be yourself when you are visiting their office.

Centinela Hospital Medical Center has been serving Inglewood and the wider Los Angeles area and beyond since 1924. Our affiliated primary care physicians have the knowledge and expertise to provide you with the services you need, ensuring your healthcare needs are met and you are healthy every step of the way. With more than 140,000 patients cared for each year from Los Angeles to the South Bay region, we have the trusted reputation you can depend on when picking the right PCP for your health.

Visit us at or call us today with any questions you may have.