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Published on December 01, 2012

The Importance of a Primary Care Provider

Dr. Harmon with a patientThe term “primary care provider” is frequently used when talking about our health. But, what is a primary care provider, and why is it so important that you have one? 

Primary care providers are doctors, nurse practitioners or physician assistants. They serve as a patient’s main medical contact – the first call you make when your throat hurts, you have a fever, or need an annual physical.  

The main role of a primary care provider is to evaluate and treat health needs, recommend and coordinate any additional medical services you may need, and communicate with other physicians that are providing care to you. They can also conduct your yearly physical and help keep you on track with the recommended health screenings appropriate for your age.

When choosing your primary care provider, pick someone you are comfortable with. Patients can change primary care providers if medical needs change, or if they become dissatisfied over time. You may visit other physicians at any time, but it is recommended that you see your primary care physician whenever you can for the best continuity of your healthcare.  Having a doctor that has a good knowledge of your medical background can help keep you healthier. 

For a complete list of MercyCare primary care providers, call 319-369-4444 or visit

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