Primary care providers range from general practitioners, to physician assistants, to pediatric nurses, and more. It is common practice for providers to refer patients to secondary, tertiary or quaternary care when patients' conditions require more specialized are:
Secondary Care - More defined in nature & the step above primary care providers, secondary care providers usually see patients who are seeking a specialized expert in one particular area. When seeking treatment for a specific body system or disease, you will most likely be referred to secondary care providers.
Tertiary Care - As with secondary care, patients come in contact with tertiary care when they are referred to a specialist. Patients dealing with cancer, brain injuries, or conditions requiring more advanced imaging will need to seek tertiary treatment. In addition, bypass surgeries, burn victims, and other high-level health issues need the extra assistance of tertiary care that primary and secondary care tend to lack.
Finding Local Primary Care Providers
It is important to assess and review local practitioners as service and quality can vary.
In the US, there is currently a shortage of primary care providers, though government efforts are underway to increase primary care services so patients can access proper care. More specifically, The Patient Protection Affordable Care Act accounts and provides funding for future demand of primary care facilities and services to increase access to primary care providers.
Primary care is regarded as the first line of healthcare provided to patients on a daily, regular interval. Primary care tends to include what most are familiar with - flu, viral or bacterial disease are some common reasons why some visit primary care practitioners. Primary care consists of healthcare providers acting as the main point of contact and coordinating with advanced specialists if needed.
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