Your Health: Schedule a visit to your primary doctor

Every day we see news stories about the high cost of health care; a broken health insurance system. Despite all the stories and many activities, the United States still spends more on healthcare than any other country yet we have poorer health.

So, while the government, the health care industry and insurers try to figure out how to fix the big problem, is there something that each of us can do?

One thing that should be on everyone’s New Year’s resolution list is to schedule (and go!) to see your primary care provider.

Primary care providers are your advocate for better health. They can help guide you through the health care system and coordinate better care for you.

One of the good parts of the recent health care changes is that most preventive screenings are performed free. Your provider will make sure you are up to date with your immunizations, screen for depression, and identify potential health problems early.

Research shows that people who have a primary care provider have 33 percent lower health-care-related costs than those who do not.

Peninsula Regional Medical Center has partnered with area primary care physicians committed to improving health care as part of a Medicare accountable care organization. This physician network includes Chesapeake Health Services, Dr. Alon Davis, Dr. Chris Huddleston, Dr. Vel Natesan, Dr. Jonathan Patrowicz and all of the providers of PRMC’s Peninsula Regional Medical Group.

This group works together through monthly meetings and efforts in their offices to improve the care experience, improve care quality, and reduce costs for the patients they serve.

What if you don’t have insurance or cannot afford to see a primary care provider? PRMC, collaborating with Atlantic General Hospital and McCready Health, has the Wagner Wellness Van traveling throughout the Lower Shore, providing screening services and support.

Each Monday and Friday, the van is parked on South Salisbury Boulevard on the S curve in Salisbury from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is a nurse practitioner on board who can perform exams and basic health screenings.

This team will also connect you to community resources and work to set you up with a primary care provider. These services are all free.

This year of 2017 is nearly over and many of us will be thinking of New Year’s resolutions. I encourage you to consider making a commitment to yourself, and your overall well-being. Call your primary care provider and make an appointment.

If you do not have a primary care provider, you can use peninsula.org/find-a-doctor and search under Family Doctor to find a community provider.

Life is a journey-consider taking the first step forward in 2018 and make an appointment with your provider. Happy Holidays!

Dr. Kathryn Fiddler, MS, RN, NE-BC, is Executive Director for Population Health Management at Peninsula Regional Medical Center.

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