Ask Sofia: Do I need a primary care physician?
At Clinic Sofia, we pride ourselves in offering full-circle care to women of all ages. However, in some instances or at a certain stage of life, it makes sense for patients to have a primary care physician (PCP) or seek care from a family practitioner.
We talked to Dr. Deb Krahl to get a better understanding of when a patient should see a doctor outside of the Clinic Sofia care team.
Can’t I just see my OB GYN for primary care?
Dr. Krahl says: For many healthy women, the answer is yes. They can see their OB-GYN for an annual exam and to fill a variety of prescriptions.
However, if you have a chronic condition such as high blood pressure or cholesterol or if you are over age 60, you should have a PCP or a family practitioner as there may be things that come up that are out of scope for an OB-GYN to treat.
If I am over 60, do I even need to see an OB GYN doctor an annual basis?
Dr. Krahl says: It is recommended that women, even after age 60, still need an annual breast and pelvic exam. This could be done by another doctor as part of a physical with the patient choosing to see their OB-GYN only if there is a specific gynecological-related problem.
At age 65, women typically transition to a PCP or family practitioner for annual physicals since those visits are covered by Medicare as well as necessary medications. If a woman still wants to see an OB-GYN for a breast and pelvic exam, Medicare covers these visits every two years.
What if I don’t want to see another doctor outside of Clinic Sofia?
Dr. Krahl says: We develop such deep relationships with our patients that it can be hard for them to transition to a different physician. It’s also difficult for us. We cherish each and every one of our patients, and, of course, we are here for them no matter what. However, sometimes this means referring them to a specialist or another internal medicine doctor who will be better suited to managing their overall health.
In closing, Dr. Krahl adds that each patient’s circumstance and need for care is unique. If you have questions about your health and the best approach to ensuring your needs are met, please don’t hesitate to reach out.