Long ago, we had the concept of the country doctor and then the family doctor. These physicians took care of the whole family from birth through old age. They delivered babies, treated childhood illnesses, set broken bones, treated adult diseases and illnesses, and comforted elders when they faced death. They even made house calls.
What Is a Primary Care Provider (PCP)?
A primary care doctor today is the closest we can come to the family doctor of the past. However, there is sadly a shortage of PCPs, particularly in rural areas. About 20% of Americans live in rural areas, while just 10% of physicians practice there. And the average age of practicing rural family doctors is increasing.
Marion, Illinois has a population of about 17,000 but is part of a metropolitan area with more than 125,000. As such, residents do not experience as much difficulty those in as rural areas when seeking healthcare, but finding the right primary care physician near Marion can still be a challenge
Why Is There a Shortage of PCPs?
The modern concept of a family doctor has changed as medicine has become more specialized. Along with specialties like pediatric and internal medicine, there is now a board-certified specialty of family medicine. Specialized practices can normally be sustained only in urban areas where there is more demand for them. PCPs tend to be unevenly distributed as many doctors prefer to practice in or near urban areas rather than in less populated or rural areas.
How Does a Typical PCP Work?
A PCP is knowledgeable about internal medicine and must also keep abreast of development and changes in many other medical disciplines because he or she sees a wide variety of medical conditions and needs. A specialist sees the same thing over and over and has a narrower spectrum of medical technology to monitor.
A PCP must have the knowledge and experience to meet the everyday primary care needs of patients and the knowledge and judgment to refer them to specialists when necessary.
Importance of PCPs
A large segment of our population lives in communities where there are few if any doctors practicing in medical specialties. They rely on their PCP for most or all of their healthcare. The PCP must be able to recognize a patient’s need for specialized care. However, if specialized medical care is not readily available, the life of a patient with an emergency or special condition could be in the hands of his or her PCP.
Residents looking for a primary care physician near Marion are fortunate to have an excellent team right in the city. Our team at Lawler & Lawler Medical consists of three doctors — siblings born and raised in Marion — with more than 40 years of combined experience in family medicine.
Lawler & Lawler Medical is not affiliated with a hospital group, so we can refer our patients to whatever specialists might be necessary. Come to see us, and you will find that we can expertly meet your primary care needs.