December 13, 2022
NORTON, Kan. – Primary care providers (PCPs) play an integral role in health care. If you don’t have a primary care provider, you could be missing out on important health guidance.
“The best part about having your own primary care provider is being able to have somebody who knows your medical care better than anybody else, somebody who knows your medical problems inside and out, and can help you make decisions when needed,” said Dr. Miranda McKellar, family practice and obstetrics physician for Norton County Hospital.
Meeting with a PCP
If you're establishing with a new primary care provider, it's important for the PCP to have access to your previous medical records. Typically, the first visit involves collecting a basic medical history.
“We talk about family history, your social history, and just work to get to know you and figure out what things we need to focus on to make sure patients stay healthy,” McKellar said.
Your PCP is also a great resource for managing results you may have gotten after seeing a specialist. Oftentimes, specialists don’t have the time to spend with patients and answer all their questions. A PCP can help fill that void.
How often should you see your PCP?
A patient’s current state of health will dictate how often he or she needs to schedule a PCP visit. Someone who struggles with health issues may need multiple visits per year, while otherwise healthy individuals can usually get by with an annual visit.
The important thing is to make and keep regular appointments. That way, the PCP can notice any significant changes month-over-month or year-over-year.
“When my patients come in for visits, we pay attention to their vitals, make sure their blood pressure is okay, check their weight and make sure they're taking their medications properly,” McKellar explained. “Once you get to know those patients, you can notice subtle changes in their mood or how they're doing with managing their medications. These are things specialists may not notice because they don't know you as well.”
Children need to be seen more frequently, especially in their very early years. This is to ensure they’re hitting developmental milestones on time, as well as receiving their appropriate vaccinations. PCPs are always on the lookout for childhood diseases as well.
You and your PCP: A health-forward team
To make the most of your PCP appointments, McKellar encourages patients to keep a written record of their health concerns.
“It's easy to forget when you're in the office,” she said. “So, write things down, and then just make sure you and your primary care provider are a team and that you can work on your health together and make the important decisions together.”
Norton Medical Clinic currently has the following medical providers on staff who are accepting new patients: Miranda McKellar, MD; Theresia Neill, MD; Josh Gaede, MD; Dakota Dreher, MD; Kristin Vogel, PA-C; and Jonna Inman, APRN.
To establish care with a PCP at Norton Medical Clinic, please call 785-877-3305. More information about Norton County Hospital and its medical staff may be found online.