Primary Care Physicians
A primary care physician is the physician who provides primary care, the physician selected to be the first doctor contacted for any medical condition. The physician acts as the patient’s “gatekeeper,” providing ongoing medical care, preventive services, medical counseling, and referrals to specialists as needed. Examples of physicians who may be considered to be primary care physicians include family medicine physicians, internal medicine physicians, OB/GYN physicians, pediatricians, and at times emergency medicine physicians. The number of primary care physicians has been declining in recent years with more physicians seeking careers as subspecialists or pursuing specialty care with financial rewards and increasing demands on time being major reasons for this change (Bodenheimer, 2006).