Primary Care Provider
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Primary Care Providers

A primary care provider, or PCP, is a health care practitioner who sees people that have common medical problems. This person is usually a doctor, but may be a nurse practitioner (NP).

All physicians first complete medical school to become a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO). Physicians who specialize in primary care must successfully complete an accredited three-year family medicine or internal medicine residency in the United States in addition to their medical degree.

Having a primary care provider can give you a trusting, ongoing relationship with one medical professional over time. You can choose from several different types of PCPs:

  • Family Medicine Physician -- doctors who have completed a family practice residency and are board certified, or board eligible, for this specialty. The scope of their practice includes children and adults of all ages and may include obstetrics and minor surgery.
  • Internal Medicine Physician (sometimes referred to as Internists) -- doctors who have completed a residency in internal medicine and are board certified, or board eligible, in this specialty. The scope of their practice includes the care of adults 18 and older for many different medical problems.
  • Pediatricians -- doctors who have completed a pediatric residency and are board certified, or board eligible, in this specialty. The scope of their practice includes the care of newborns, infants, children, and adolescents.

If you do not currently have a primary health care provider, you can contact the Healthcare Coordination office at 865.305.6970 for a physician referral.

Learn more about choosing a PCP