Primary Care Physicians

DEFINITION

The doctor you see first for most health problems. He or she makes sure you get the care you need to keep you healthy. He or she also may talk with other doctors and health care providers about your care and refer you to them. In many health plans, you must see your primary care doctor before you see any other health care provider.

EXAMPLE

If you are an adult, your primary care provider may be called a family physician or doctor, internist, general practitioner, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant. Your child or teenager's provider may be called a pediatrician. If you are elderly, your provider may be called a geriatrician. In some cases your health plan may assign you to a provider. You can usually change providers if you want to. Contact your health plan on how to do this.